Archive for Alternate Tellin


Millepede Starfish Eats Whole Potato

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millepede starfish sea star eating a heart urchin

This MILLEPEDE SEA STAR ate a whole POTATO URCHIN that was entirely too big for his belly so he split himself wide open. Are you crazy, dude?

luidia senegalensis nine arm sea star eats heart urchin

After strong west winds yesterday, Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel had some very cool BEACH BLING washing up this morning but this takes the cake… the potato cake, that is. heehee

I could tell that the STARFISH was very much alive since his little tube feet and spines on the underside were sticking out and moving around to tell me he wanted to go back into the water so he could finish this shellicious breakfast. (Of course I understood him- I talk Starfish) In the next photo, the hole in the middle of his body is his mouth so, as you can see, the POTATO URCHIN (or HEART URCHIN) that he ate is barely visible from this side. 

nine leg starfish is called a millepede sea star

But looking at this view…. Holy Cowrie! The whole URCHIN is there but his belly wasn’t big enough.

starfish eats whole potato urchin

In my humble opinion, it seems to reason that since SEA STARS can regrow arms if they break off, I’m assuming once this guy finishes his meal he will be able to repair his torn body and live happily ever after. So I put him back in the Gulf to digest this massive meal and hopefully live another day.

millepede starfish sea star eating a potato urchin

Check out this short video I took so you can see the whole dang thing! YouTube Preview Image

But the funnier thing is…. our friends Dick and Mary had just told us that they found a dead MILLIPEDE STARFISH on the beach that had swallowed half a bivalve. Oh my! They just sent me these iPhone photos so I could share them with you too. One valve of the ALTERNATE TELLIN bivalve shell is inside him and the other is hanging out of his mouth on the underside. This is so wild!

millipede starfish with alternate tellin bivalve inside body

This is the other side that you can see that one valve is still hanging out. Crazy! Unfortunately, this SEA STAR wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree so neither guy made it out alive from this meal.

starfish with bivalve valve hanging out of his mouth

PS- I’ve interchanged the words “SEA STAR” and “STARFISH” a few times throughout this post. I know “SEA STAR” (I intended these to be said aloud with air quotes instead of real ” ” so go ahead, air quote away!) is the more socially acceptable way to say “STARFISH” these days but I’m stuck with calling them “STARFISH” since I grew up calling them that. Just so you know. :\



Bringing On The Beachcombing

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Finding seashells on Sanibel Island Florida on Tarpon Beach

There is nothing more exciting than seeing shells line the beach as far as the horizon.

shells for miles on Sanibel Island Florida

At Tarpon Road beach access (mid island on Sanibel)… that’s what we saw yesterday- miles of shells. Amy from Alabama was a happy girl be able to witness this beautiful site as well.

Amy from Huntsville finds shells on Sanibel Island Florida

She found oodles of APPLE MUREXES and FIGHTING CONCHS in a wide assortment of colors, patterns and textures along with some other beauties.

seashells collected at Tarpon Beach Sanibel Island

I ooohed and ahhhed over her best find (well, her best find to me anyway) which was this ROCK SHELL. Its not often I see these shells so I was excited for Amy that she found one.

rock shell at Tarpon Bay Rd Beach

I saw Ellie from Wisconsin holding her hand in a way to protect something delicate.

ellie from Wisconsin finds shells in Florida

It was a gorgeous double ALTERNATE TELLIN with colors of yellow, pink and mauve. It looks like a beautiful butterfly!

holding a Sanibel seashell

I was thrilled to find a LONG-SPINED URCHIN and a WEST INDIAN SEA URCHIN to add to my mix of treasures (OLIVES, CONCHS, TINTED CANTHARUS, NUTMEG, ROUGH SCALLOP, dark rich BANDED TULIP, a WORMIE and …. candy!)

sea urchins and shells collected on Sanibel Island

Then I walked the beach at BLIND PASS Sanibel to see Michelle from Illinois (right) with her family Mary, Mike, Patti and Molly. she was carrying a strange looking shell so I stopped her.

mary mike patti molly michelle from illinois shelling sanibel

OMG its the lip of verrrry large HELMET shell. Wow! HELMETS are from Caribbean so to see the lip of that shell in such good shape and color was impressive. She also found a nice THORNY OYSTER too. Good eye, Michelle!

helmet lip and thorny oyster

I saw Justin and Jeff from Connecticut scooping in the water and Bonnie combing the beach about a mile from the pass (the furthest point in the background).

justin bonnie jeff conn shelling sanibel

They were having a ball finding some really nice shells like TULIPS, WHELKS and huge COCKLES. They said they were just as happy to find shells as being here to enjoy this awesome weather.

justins shells

Krystal S posted on iLS Facebook all the shells they found yesterday morning at Blind Pass Sanibel….

shells by Krystal S Facebook

Molly P posted there as well to show us she found this LIONS PAW this week on the Captiva side of Blind Pass. Congratshellations, to all of you!

lions paw Molly P facebook

Keep ‘em coming, Mother Nature!

Sanibel beach filled with shells

lucky four leaf wentletrap clover

Top of the Sanibel mornin’ to ya!

wentletrapping doing the sanibel stoop at sunrise

It’s always a lucky day just to have the time to walk the beach… but it’s a very lucky day if you find a couple of WENTLEPTRAP shells.

collecting miniature sanibel seashells

Paula brought down some Luck O’ the Irish from Boston to find a few O’wentles near the Sanibel lighthouse and pier – along with a few other sweet minis.

paula from ma shelling sanibel

Did someone have to kiss the Blarney Stone to find a whole handful of O’wentles like this?

sandy wentletraps seashells epitonium found at Sanibel lighthouse beach

We can ask Deenie since this handful was hers. Wait a minute. Deenie is from Massachusetts too. Hmmmmm….

collecting seashells at sanibel lighthouse near causeway

I danced a little jig to find a few of my own plus I found a LINED TREE SNAIL, a violet tinted juvie FIGHTING CONCH and a double ALTERNATE TELLIN to name a few.

shells from sanibel island florida lighthouse beach

While we were finding our Pots of O’Wentle Gold, I was green with envy to know that Bruce from Chicago found a JUNONIA at Blind Pass Sanibel a few days ago.

Happy Shell Paddy’s Day!

photo by Cari Wells

photo by Cari Wells

PS… I believe the WENTLETRAP at the top of Deenie’s hand is a BLADED WENTLETRAP along with a few others but most of the others are ANGULATE. Deenie was very excited that a few days ago she found her first BROWN BANDED WENTETRAP so we talked about that top one being different as well.  I realized that I never added the BLADED to my lineup of WENTLETRAPS on my post How To Find Wentletrap Shells so I’ll update that soon so we can see the differences.


Tarpon Beach Top Shelf Shells

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handful of seashells sanibel

These shells are the cream of the crop! This is any shellers dream to find a handful of shells like this. I’m talking… not just a TULIP… but a gorgeous nice size red TRUE TULIP. And not just a FLORIDA CONE, but a deep orange FLORIDA CONE with a purple tip. That PEAR WHELK is so yellow! And that size HORSE CONCH? Not so easy to find. And as you can see, I could go on. I just can’t believe I haven’t spent more time at Tarpon Beach (at the end of Tarpon Bay Rd on the Gulf side)It’s been a gold mine the last few weeks! Laura and Ken from CT were shelling with their family Jaime and Matthew who live in Fort Myers hit the right spot…

laura ken matthew jaime sanibel shells

Matthew told me the whole family has been shelling for over 20 years on Sanibel so they know what to look for and knew they had some top shelf shells.

tulip pear fig conch cone

And they love to search the water!

waders finding shells

The water wasn’t the only place there were shells. The WENTLETRAPS are there as well. You can see this one trying to hide in the sand…. sorry buddy! I see you!

wentletrap tarpon beach

I was so surprised to find a BABY’S EAR too…

babys ear tarpon beach

Clark and I also hit Sanibel’s Blind Pass this weekend too. There are lots of shells still on the canal side of the pass under the bridge.

wetskin sanibel shells

That’s where we met Jude from NY decked out in her skin suit to cover up from the harmful rays of the sun. Hey Judy, that’s pretty smart! (I couldnt resist)

jude sanibel blind pass

She was thrilled with her finds! She found everything from WORM ROCK to a DOUBLE ALTERNATE TELLIN to a COCKLE full of minis…

jude sanibel seashells

Right under the bridge, Janet from Sanibel (too shy for me to take her picture!) found this awesome FLAT SCALLOP.

fan flat mexican scallop jan

Clark and I found a few goodies this weekend that we’ve never found before! I get so excited to find something new! I hate to be a little bit of a tease but I have to get some good pictures of them then I’ll show you our finds tomorrow. Okay, okay…. I’ll give you a hint on our finds. The one I found is a shell that’s a little rounded on the TOP. The one Clark found isn’t a shell but it protects a MOLLUSK but not SHARKS.

tarpon bay rd beach sky



2012 Sanibel Coastal Cleanup

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coastal clean up crew

As part of the Ocean Conservancy‘s 2012 International Coastal Cleanup, Dee Serage of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) organized volunteers to pick up and document litter on our beaches and coastlines this past Saturday. So the beach on Sanibel from Blind Pass to Bowman’s is free and clear of any trash because of our fun little cleanup crew in the photo above from left to right… Susan (Soul Sister Susan), Daron who was our efficient record keeper, me, Super Sheller Clark, Judy, Grant, Cameron and Berringer.

We spread out and literally combed the beach.. or should I say “litteraly”.

beach combers clean up

We searched high on the beach for trash…

judy susan clean up

…and we searched low on the beach for litter. We had to leave these big shells piles for another day but couldn’t help but look for something unusual.

seashells boys

Berringer did find a few unusal shells. Oh, and remember the SPOTTED EAGLE RAY I showed on my last video? Clark had “spotted” the ray in the water and told everybody to come look at it but Berringer is the one who knew exactly what it was right away. “Look! It’s an EAGLE RAY!” (you see why I like him?)

berringer alternate tellin

He found a beautiful yellow ALTERNATE TELLIN pair…

alternate tellin yellow

And look at the bright purple color of this SOUTHERN HORSE MUSSEL !

False Tulip Mussel horsemussel

It even has purple in the interior…

interior false tulip mussel

Grant found this very cool completely dried PUFFER FISH

grant puffer fish

This is what I call cool BEACH BLING

dried puffer fish

Grant also found this sweet little SEA URCHIN…

tiny sea urchin

Yes, there were lots of shell piles like I showed you  in the cyber shelling photo on my last post with but we were on a mission to pick up trash and we had a very long walk so we only picked up the cool unusual things that didn’t weigh much… like this ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER! We rarely find these…

roseate spoonbill feather sanibel

Clark brought home this aqua buoy. We couldn’t throw that away!

clark with aqua bouy

But back to the main reason we were there… to rid the beach of any trash. Cigarettes, plastic bottles, plastic caps, more and more plastic were the top items found but I was so surprised to see so many balloons with ribbons on the beach. Balloons are a huge NO-NO to bring to the beach! They can get swallowed or wrapped around wildlife so please never take balloons to the beach for any occasion.

ribbon balloon bowmans

Fortunately, our beaches aren’t terribly littered so I think we only filled up 7 fairly small bags which is not so bad for a 2 and 1/2 mile walk. But Clark didn’t stop there. He even saw trash thrown over the beach access boardwalk so he fished it out under the rail. Go Super Sheller Clark!

clark picking up trash

 I’m sure yall do this already, but just a reminder while we are shelling… let’s pick up any trash and put it in our shell bag until we can find a trash can or dumpster to dispose of it. Okay, So… lets recap what we do as “shellers”. On our beach walks we can get exercise, find treasure, explore, learn about wildlife and the creatures of the sea AND save the planet AND spread peace on earth. LOL Yes! Shellers save the planet! We are the Super Shellers!

Bowmans Beach trash


Gotten, The Cabrits Of Our Lives

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clark cabrits murex

It’s not easy to find a CABRIT’S MUREX on the beaches of Sanibel.. much less with some of the spines still in tact. So I was over the moon when Clark found this one near Bowman’s Beach. (Okay, hopefully not the Cabrits of our lives but I couldn’t resist the silly title play on words)

cabrits murex aperture

Joanne (NJ) was shelling in the same spot with me when Clark showed us this great find. So guess what she found the very next day? You guessed it! Her own CABRITS MUREX!!

Joanne cabrits murex

They look to be just about the same size and color (Clark’s looks whiter but when it’s wet it looks just like her’s with a pinkish color) but hers has a few more spines still in tact. Crazy, huh?

Joanne with cabrits murex

 Look at the other cool shells she found… a piece of LIONS PAW, 2 FLATS and a pink tinted ALTERNATE TELLIN with both sides still attached.

joanne cabrits pink tellin lions paw flats

 Then I ran into Joan (Indiana) who found a beautiful SCOTCH BONNET on her birthday!!!!

Joan with scotch bonnet

Look at that bright yellow SCALLOP too. Happy birthday, Joan!

Joan's scotch bonnet and yellow scallop

The low tide mornings over the weekend brought in these unusual shells along with lots of the goodies.

lisbeth with shells

Lizbeth found a handful of orangies. Look at that fabulous solid brilliant orange CHESTNUT TURBAN. It doesn’t look chestnut to me, you know?

lisbeth orange seashells

 I also found a wonderful treasure… Shelling Sistah Connie Knight in her i Love Shelling shirt!!!

connie knight loves shelling

 And then Shelling Sistah Mary Ann Ross too! I was in hog heaven all weekend.

mary ann ross collecting miniature shells

 Here’s Benny from Miami finding those bright orange SCALLOPS too…

Benny Miami with seashells

The weekend started off with gobs of rain and wind then finished with gorgeous skies. We shelled right through all of it and ended up with a treasure trove. You gotta roll with the tides, baby.

crab trap sanibel

collecting seashells stormy sky

Joan and sister shellers