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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Carried Away By A Carrier Shell

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 in Carrier Shell, Shell Fair live shell exhibit | 17 comments

2 inch carrier shell sanibel

Woohoo! I found a huge CARRIER SHELL! I am so tickled to find a whole one and to find one this big is such a bonus. I know, it doesn’t look like a pretty shell but this is the original shell collector. When the mollusk that made this shell was alive, it collected different shells and glued them to its own shell. The original shell crafter!

Carrier shell holding

This one has a few bits and parts of shells, coral and maybe even a rock or two still stuck to it but the fascinating thing is to see the shape of the shell itself. It reminds me of a Christmas tree with only a few ornaments on it so far.

carrier shell side

It seems to reason that if this shell did have a few whole shells attached to it at some point, they may have been broken off while tumbling in the surf since I found it high on the beach. Who knows. I love it with its bits and pieces.

Holding carrier shell side

I found this yesterday early evening at West Gulf Drive beach access #7. Clark and I went to Gulf Side City Park first and didn’t see many keepers so he wanted to go back to West Gulf. I’m so glad we went!

carrier shell aperture

I may be carried away with all the photos of this CARRIER SHELL but as you can see, this was an exciting find for me. I’m even going to list the “real” scientific name… XENOPHORIDAE. Ha! Don’t ask me how to pronounce that… maybe “zee-no-FOR-id” ?

carrier shell sanibel beach aperture

This next photo is the exact way I found it on the beach. It’s not so easy to spot, right? But maybe this will help you spot one if you even come across one trying to hide.

carrier shell on sanibel beach

I was also so happy  I found the video I shot from the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show this past March of blue ribbon winner Pat Linn telling us how the CARRIER SHELL attaches other shells to itself while showing her exhibit. Thanks Pat! I can’t wait to see what you have in 2012.




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Sanibel Students Introduce Live Seashells

Posted by on Mar 7, 2011 in Sanibel, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Shell Fair live shell exhibit, Video | 20 comments

Live shell display

Live shell display at Sanibel Community House

There were so many interesting shells to see at the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show this year but one of the highlights every year is the “Live Shell Exhibit” narrated by 6th grade students from The Sanibel School.

Sanibel School student Mariah

Sanibel School student Mariah

As Dr. Jose Leal of The Bailey Matthews Shell Museum put it, “These students are the crown jewels of the whole show”. Weeks before the shell fair begins, these students start training to be “Shell Experts” (check out their tags in the video below) at their school by Sanibel School teacher Peggy Drennan and at the shell museum by volunteer Sue Sprout.

Do you think you are smarter about shells than a 6th grader at

The Sanibel School? (I doubt it! ;))

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