Archive for Pear Whelk
I may not be a champion but I like my weekend breakfast to be garnished with TULIPS while I fill up on PEARS….
Quite a few PEAR WHELKS …
With a little NUTMEG…
This weekend’s low tides were in the early morning so it was such a treat to see the sunrise… and to collect the shells from the shallow tidal pools.
But I started the weekend running into an awesome family at Blind Pass Captiva around sunset as they were just packing up all the shells they found after snorkeling. Paul, Darren, Gabe, Kyle, Emily, Ellie from Naples are all like shelling encyclopedias. They knew the names of all of their shells and little tid bits about them too. Hmmmm… “Enshellopedias”! Ha! They were so much fun to talk to…
They found lots of CONCHS, WHELKS, TULIPS, COCKLES, OLIVES and all sorts of treasures. You know I love to peek at other people’s shells so I was thrilled to take a look into Paul’s green shell bag. Wanna see too? Ha! I knew it! Here you go… Fun!
The next morning at the Lighthouse Beach, I met Charity holding a double ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLE she was holding like a treasure box. It was a treasure box! She had filled the COCKLE with all of her other tiny treasures she found at low tide.
I met the rest of her family… Janssen, Lynn Ann and Joann visiting Sanibel from the Tampa area…
Lynn Ann told me that they found all of these shell like the fab SHARKS EYE, HORSE CONCH and APPLE MUREXES (and the SEA BEAN) at the tip of the island in front of the lighthouse.
At low tide, it’s always glorious to see and touch live MOLLUSKS… especially this live 14 inch HORSE CONCH. No worries- this creature was very happy to be put back into the water where it could keep healthy and hopefully have lots of babies.
I’ve never been much of a morning person (I know. Sounds crazy for an obsessed sheller like me to say that but it’s just the truth)… so I hope this next season I learn to enjoy mornings like I did this weekend. I meet people like Angela from the Outer Banks of North Carolina who was too shy for me to take her picture but made a big impression on me. It was a pleasure to talk with you Angela!
But now that I think about it, I doesn’t really matter what time of day it is. I always find shells and I always meet awesome people shellers. I meet them finding shells at breakfast time , lunch time , afternoon snack time, dinner and evening snack time. It really doesnt matter! Errrr. I might sleep in tomorrow morning. heehee
I am obsessed with shells. I love to hunt for shells, collect different species of shells, travel for shells, learn about shells and research shells. So I have been like a pit bull with a bone ever since Shellabaloo 3 when an unusual shell showed up at our Shell ‘N Tell.
Was is really a right-handed LIGHTNING WHELK? Or was it a KNOBBED WHELK (Busycon carica) just displaced????? LIGHTNING WHELKS are the only left handed shell in Florida so to find a right-handed would be so cool. I am so excitable when I see a “local” shell (Southwest Florida) I haven’t seen before so my mind starts racing. After I wrote the post Seashells And Beach Bling at Shellabaloo 3 Shell ‘N Tell, I just had to look into it further about that WHELK Gregg found. Something wasn’t sitting right with me. Somehting else looked a little different about that whelk other than just the opening…. was it really from this area? Hmmmm. Then I got an email from another Shellabalooer, Marie, who said after she was sorting through her shells when she got home, she realized she found one of those right-handed whelks too. What??? What are the odds???
OMG. It was sitting on her tray at the Shell ‘N Tell and I didn’t even see it! Here’s the photo I put on the blog post. Can you see it now? LOL
So I started racing through my shell collection of LIGHTNING WHELKS. Have I found a RIGHT-HANDED LIGHTNING WHELK before and just didn’t realize it?
Well, No. I didn’t find one in our collection. Dang it!
While we visited the Baily-Matthews Shell Museum, Dr. Leal said something like “one in 10,000 LIGHTNING WHELKS are right-handed” … or something like that. Sorry if I got that number wrong but all I know is that he said it was a very rare find. So then…
While I was visiting my mom and family in Virginia Beach earlier this month, I helped my mom organize some her shells from her closet she had stacked up in shoe boxes. Aha! This looks like Gregg’s right-handed shell. These were a few shells that were collected years ago from the Outer Banks of North Carolina (or they could have been found after a Nor-Easter on Virginia Beach- we cant recall) that looked just like his shell. They are KNOBBED WHELKS !!
Now that I had one in my hand, I knew that this was the same shell that Gregg and Marie found here on our beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. So they didn’t find rare right handed LIGHTNING WHELKS after all, they found KNOBBED WHELKS like these.
After getting back home (with a few of my mom’s shells- heehee), I lined up all of the WHELKS. Now you can see the differences of all of the WHELKS too. Unfortunately, I don’t have a right-handed LIGHTNING WHELK to put in the line-up but you can see the rest of them.
From left to right- LIGHTNING WHELK (Sanibel), PEAR WHELK (Sanibel), KNOBBED WHELK (Outer Banks, North Carolina – OBX), CHANNELED WHELK (OBX).
You can see by the shape of the spire, and the “tail” the differences are from the LIGHTNING WHELK (left) and KNOBBED WHELK (right)
This view gives you lots of differences…especially since the LIGHTNING’s aperture opens on the left.
Since the CHANNELED WHELK (left) and PEAR WHELK (right) look so similar, I thought I’d show the different views here as well…
Remember, we don’t have CHANNELED WHELKS (Busycon canaliculatum) here on the southwest coast of Florida either but we do have the PEAR WHELKS.
This is what Dr Leal and I concluded from the mystery of these found KNOBBED WHELKS (not right handed lightning whelks) on Sanibel/Captiva. People return shells to the sea- no matter where they found them. I have heard countless times (really, I hear this sooooo often!) that people will find a box of shells they collected from various places over the years but they want to get rid of them. They decide to take them back to the beach that is convenient. OR… they buy shells to scatter on the beach for a party, wedding or so their kids will have different shells to find. Then they leave them and the high tide takes them away and the end up washing back in like they were from the gulf. It happens. That’s why people find so many “foreign” shells here on Sanibel. So for our group to find TWO right handed lightning whelks in one week, errrrr….. even though we find the BEST beaches for our Shellabaloo shellers while they are here …. I think we found somebody’s old shells they collected from the Atlantic Ocean that they scattered on Sanibel.
So know we know the differences between a LIGHTNING, PEAR, KNOBBED and CHANNELED WHELK!
Join us for the next Shellabaloo January 6-9, 2014 or some of our other shelling adventures by
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…
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.
And they love to search the water!
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!
I was so surprised to find a BABY’S EAR too…
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.
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)
She was thrilled with her finds! She found everything from WORM ROCK to a DOUBLE ALTERNATE TELLIN to a COCKLE full of minis…
Right under the bridge, Janet from Sanibel (too shy for me to take her picture!) found this awesome FLAT SCALLOP.
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.
Happy. That’s what this photo of a mom (Margaret) and daughter (Katy) from Chicago says “Happy”. I peaked into Kay’s shell bag and knew why she had such a happy face. Who wouldnt be happy filling a mesh bag full of seashell treasures like these…
She found this awesome ALPHABET CONE…
Her mom Margaret found great treasures too and pulled out these two ALPHIES and a TULIP…
Katy and Margaret collected their seashells this morning at Captiva’s Blind Pass but yesterday I saw Bridget and Brendan from New Hampshire on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass with the same happy faces.
They were exhilarated by finding gobs of shells like these FIGHTING CONCHS…
While I was in the parking lot at Blind Pass Sanibel, I ran into Jean from Iowa who found an extremely large PEAR WHELK (no, not in the parking lot, silly)…
I mean, this is a gargantuan PEAR WHELK!!!
Earlier in the week on the east end of Sanibel, I showed you all of the weird BEACH BLING that was washing up on the beach. Now the BLING (and Red Tide) is moving out with some north/northwest winds and those winds are bringing in some nice big shells.
My faves (and Clark’s) this weekend have been the multicolored SCALLOP shells. They are amazing! I relate it to the same experience as seeing a DOLPHIN… I will never get tired of spotting a DOLPHIN no matter how many times in the week I see them. Its the same with SCALLOPS. I will never get tired of spotting a beautifully colored SCALLOP and being amazed by so many different patterns. They are both magical.
I love to travel… but more than anything, I love to come home to my beautiful island of Sanibel. Sanibel is like getting to finally sleeping in your own bed or taking your first good breathe of fresh air.
Yep. Super Sheller Clark found this beautiful ALPHABET CONE last night at the Lighthouse beach. We just couldn’t wait any longer to see our own contented beach. Clark was looking at this CONE like it was a long lost friend.
I was enjoying all the signs of a beautiful life on our islands. I picked up this gorgeous KINGS CROWN (above) then realized it was full of life and health so I was happy I scooped up so much sand with “him”. He went right on his merry way when I put him gently back where I found him. The Gulf of Mexico was so full of life! I found a live SHARK’S EYE too…
There were lots of live PEAR WHELKS too…
And live KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS. Did you notice I put the whole common name of this SAND DOLLAR? Sine we found those cutie tiny SAND DOLLARS in Thailand, I’ve been trying to figure out what type they are… when I realized that I’ve never said which ones ours are that we find here in SouthWest Florida. KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS!
And live LIGHTNING WHELKS…
In the next photo of this same LIGHTNING WHELK, I wanted show you how much lighter the other side was but do you see that little string on my left hand ? While on our trip to Thailand, we were blessed by a Monk who wrapped this string with a knot around our wrists. I was told it was called a “spiritual line” and we are to wear it until it falls off and not to cut it off. It is for good luck, good health and to remind us every day that today is special so live it that way. I immediately thought of those strings I used to tie around my finger to remind me to do something. So every day now when I look at this string on my wrist I am reminded that today is a gift.
PS- I’ll show lots of more photos of Thailand soon!
Ahhhhh Freak Out! Le Freak. C’est Chic. Freak Out! … Remember that song? Wouldn’t you freak if you found this FREAK LIGHTNING WHELK?
Martine (from my last post) introduced me to her Periwinkle Park neighbors Ron and Lucienne because they too love to shell. As soon as I saw their picnic table loaded with shells, I spotted this LIGHTNING WHELK. I freaked out when I saw the curly tail on this guy!
What’s a FREAK shell? As I understand it, it’s a shell with an abnormal structure, albinism, dwarf, giant or some sort of growth defect or maybe even a strange color pattern. This is Lucienne proudly displaying her FREAK WHELK…
After I calmed down about the curly tailed freak, I spotted something else. Another freakin’ FREAK?
Looks like a PEAR WHELK, right? I know, but I don’t think it is (although I could be wrong). I guess it could be a left handed PEAR WHELK with a strange apex but I what ever it is, it’s a FREAK! In my humble opinion, I think it’s a LIGHTNING WHELK that is a “Knobless Wonder” in a WHELK version instead of a HORSE CONCH. Look! It doesn’t have the spines that LIGHTNING WHELKS normally have. Believe it or not, they had two of these they found the same day.
Lucienne’s husband Ron was especially proud of this huge, beautiful KING’S CROWN he found as well. Wow! gorgeous…
Even this one looks like it is a little unusual (not to mention the size of it!) because of a second row of spines…
I wouldn’t consider this one to be a FREAK but this LIGHTNING WHELK had a slight bend to the base (or what I like to call the “tail”). And look at the color on this baby- fabulous!
Look at all these beauties!
I asked Ron and Lucienne where they find their best shells. They told me they love to shell in the bays around Sanibel in their homemade kayaks. Yes, you heard that right. They made both of these beautiful kayaks!
Thank you for sharing your treasures, Ron and Lucienne. I had an incredible time drooling over your incredible shell collection… especially those FREAKS! I’m still freaked! It’s hard to say what causes mollusks to have abnormal growth patterns like “Curly Tail” but there could be many reasons including lack of food, healing after damage by predators, water quality (red tide maybe!) or who knows…. it could be just in the DNA. Whatever it is, i LOVE FREAK SHELLS!