Archive for Brown banded wentletrap

Apr
22

Minutes For Mini Shells

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sanibel beach treasures with brown banded wentletrap

I had a few extra minutes today (how did my life get so busy?) so I snagged those few minutes to take a beach break. I’m so glad I did! With a beautiful 75 degrees and a slight breeze, Sanibel Lighthouse Beach was the perfect hunting ground for the minis. I found a BROWN BAND WENTLETRAP along with a cutie DUSKY CONE, TUSKS, SPARSE DOVE SHELLS and many other sweet shells.

brown banded wentletrap with miniature shellsbrown banded wentletrap with miniature shells

After I found a few of these beauties, I saw something else weird wash up in the surf that look sort of like giant orange pulp (with a strange alien creature in each pulp)….

clavelina picta sanibel florida

Dr. Eric Milbrandt from Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation identified it for me as a Clavelina picta COLONIAL TUNICATE. It’s in the same family as the SEA PORK we see often on our beaches. Weird and very cool. Thanks Eric!  (BTW, I put it back in the water since it still had fluid in each of those sacs)

colonial tunicate sanibel florida

Before I found the TUNICATE and the BROWN BAND WENTLETRAP, I filmed a little video because I was so shocked that I walked right out from the parking lot to find so many goodies. I normally have to search high and low to find a honey hole of minis! I’ll show you exactly where I found all of my minis and my orange glob of coolness. YouTube Preview Image

 

Nov
10

How To Find Wentletrap Shells On Sanibel

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different wentletraps

WENTLETRAP shells are very hard to find if you don’t know where to look for them or you don’t realize how small they are. I can always spot another “wentletrapper” when I see one on the beach because they have perfected the Sanibel Stoop….and it’s a specific Sanibel Stoop. Clark and I were at Lighthouse Beach the other evening where I met Sailor’s Valentine artist Constance (Connie) Miller. I knew she was looking for WENTLETRAPS the moment I saw her because of her posture -heehee.

searching for wentletrap

She and her husband just arrived on Sanibel from Delaware then headed right straight to the beach for wentletrapping. I asked her if she was having luck so she opened her hand to show me her WENTLETRAPS…

different wentletraps

Would you like to find them too? Okay! I’m going to give you some tips! First of all, let me show you a video I made a while ago that will show you where  and how I found oodles of WENTLES near the east tip of Sanibel.YouTube Preview Image

I found the WENTLETRAPS in the video very high on the beach in the high tide line along with lots of other minis, BARNACLES and bits and pieces of other shells. In this next video, you’ll see the same thing… minis, BARNACLES, bit of other shells and also you’ll see another clue for good wentletrapping. I always look for what looks like coffee grounds washing in with the surf. Once you find those “coffee grounds”, get in position using the Sanibel Stoop method to get low to the ground to see these little jewels. Adjust your eyes to focus on the smalls then follow that line until you start seeing BUBBLE SHELLS and other minis to lead you to your first WENTLETRAP. Watch this next video to see what I’m talking about…YouTube Preview Image

So as you can see, they will show up in different places but that’s why it’s so much fun when you find them! You follow the clues for your treasure hunt then practice the stoop until you find one. Normally when you find one, you’ll find a several more.

Okay, so the reason I’m back on this WENTLETRAP kick is because when I was talking to Connie and she showed me her shells, I realized that she had 3 different types of WENTLETRAPS in her hand. Look back at the photo of connie’s hand and you’ll see that the one on the left is longer and thinner than the others. So when I got home, I went through all of my WENTLETRAPS to inspect the differences in mine. I’m not an expert in the different types…yet (heehee)… but I believe (with the help of our good friend MurexKen!) that the first one is a LEAL’S WENTLETRAP (Epitonium leali) named after Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s director Dr. Jose Leal.

leali wentletrap

leali wentletrap aperture

The second one from the left in Connie’s hand I believe is a HUMPHREY’S WENTLETRAP (Epitonium humphreysii). My photo doesn’t really show the tannish color in between the ribs but when you put it beside the others, you can see the difference like in her hand.

humphreysii wentletrap

The third and fourth ones on the right are the most common to find on Sanibel, ANGULATE WENTLETRAPS (Epitonium angulatum). 

angulate wentetrap

So when I went through our 4 x 4 jar of WENTLETRAPS with hundreds of gems…

pam seashell table

I found another type as well… the MATTHEWS’ WENTLETRAP (Epitonium matthewsae). If you look at the top photo in this post, this is the 4th one over and you can see just how delicate and beautiful this one is.

mathewsae wentletrap

mathewsae wentletrap aperture

I found one more too! It’s the BROWN-BAND WENTLETRAP (Gyroscala rupicola)

brown banded wentletrap

brown band wentletrap

Okay, so I know this is a lot of info to just find a sweet little old WENTLETRAP… so I dont want you to get overwhelmed if you are trying to find your first one (Traci ;)). Don’t worry, one day you will find one. Then after you find a few, you can come back to this page and see if you have any of the more uncommon ones. There are two others that are found in SouthWest Florida but I haven’t found them or figured out those differences yet so I have to keep searching too. So get out to Lighthouse Beach, get your Sanibel Stoop on and get focused on your clues.  I hope this helps you find those precious WENTLETRAPS!

UPDATE January 22, 2013 : There was another WENTLETRAP species found for southwest Florida. A PLASTERED WENTLTRAP (Family Epitoniidae
Cirsotrema dalli) . Read the story CLICK HERE

plastered wentletrap

Wentletrap staircase

Aug
16

Turkey Wings and Rice, a Cone and Candy

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Tampa Turrid Turkey Wing shells

 Don’t get your taste buds all worked up about TURKEY, RICE or CANDY because I’m talking seashells, of course! We found lots of mini “morsels” at the lighthouse over the weekend including these two TURKEY WINGS  (the biggest one is only about an inch long) and two TAMPA TURRIDS in the photo above and RICE OLIVES and BABY’S EARS in this next photo.

rice olives babys ears seashells

Along with the usual ANGULATE WENTLETRAPS, I found a BROWN BANDED WENTLETRAP too….

brown banded wentletrap epitonia

…. And some AUGERS and little FIGHTING CONCHS.

Auger shells conch gastropods

 And to top it all off with some sweet candy, we found two HORSE CONCHS and baby ALPHABET CONE.

miniature horse conch cone

 I met William and Melissa (Jacksonville, FL) filling their shells bags with SCALLOP shells, CONCHS and some MUREXES.

William and Melissa Sanibel beach

I found out this was their first trip to Sanibel so I showed them how to find WENTLETRAPS too..

Melissas's Sanibel seashells

 I met another Shelling Sister Sanibel Stooper on the beach too…. this little cutie Lucy! She was having a ball with this COCKLE shell on the beach with her parents Jeff and Tammy.

Sanibel puppy stooper

 And look what I found again…. a SMOOTH DUCK CLAM. Maybe it isn’t that unusual (?)

Smooth duck clam on beach

Unfortunately, it’s so thin and fragile, it broke when I got it back to the house……oops!

broken smooth duck clam

There were so many SAILOR’S EARS, I bunched a few together and that’s when I saw the SMOOTH DUCK CLAM too.

Sailors ears

Sailors ears

Just a reminder- If you haven’t entered the  Susick Sea Shell Sifter Giveaway yet, CLICK HERE to win!

susick seashell sifter shelling scoop