Who knew? I didn’t! Do shells like these really roll up in the surf in Panama, Central America?
UPDATE: After further research, these are NOT shells from Panama. These shells must have been bought in a store then thrown on the beach… I call these Wedding Shells- CLICK HERE for info on WEDDING SHELLS.
My friend and book club buddy SHERRILL visited Panama a couple of months ago and told me she had found some shells walking the beach. Look at these CONES, CONCHS and COWRIES! Not to mention all of those other beauties that I can’t even name.
Like I mentioned, she told me she found some shells but I never got by her house to see them. So Tuesday night, I hostess our monthly book club (SanCap Last Minute Literary Guild – yep, that’s us!) meeting and she brought her shells to show all of us. We all were stunned! Clark had been banned to the back room while we had our meeting but I knew he couldn’t miss these shells. As soon as he saw them he said “I know where our next vacation will be if that’s where they came from”. Thank you Sherrill!
BTW- We read the book South of Broad by Pat Conroy. It was an excellent book and a great discussion for any book club.
Don’t forget! This is the LAST DAY to enter- UPDATE- the giveaway is over. The Sanibel Lighthouse Giveaway! http://iloveshelling.com/blog/2010/07/01/sanibel-lighthouse-giveaway/
Treasures for sure! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!
BEAUTIFUL!! I would love to go to Panama and get shells like those! I can only imagine what kind of shells I would find on my dream vacation to Australia! Thanks so much for sharing these!
Oh I forgot to mention, my favorites are those two shells (top right and bottom towards the left-ish) with the blue-ish color, they look like snake skin!
Lovely, lovely shells ! What great finds….
WOW! They’re beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I’ve shelled on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas and have found some cool shells there. I will try to get some pictues published to share……Love to Shell
This may be a stupid question but do you think this has anything to do with the oil spill? Very cool shells!
What a nice selection of shells. Those cones are especially nice and different.
Thanks for sharing.
WOW! another shelling place for the bucket list!! thanks for sharing….
A few comments may be helpful. From a conchological perspective, there are two different sides of Panama with two, very different shell populations. There is the Caribbean side of Panama, and there is the Pacific side. Each side has its own molluscan fauna. Many of the shells on the Caribbean side of Panama are also found in the Florida Keys and throughout much of the Caribbean. The shells on the Pacific side are entirely different with only a few notable exceptions, which I will not discuss here.
Most of the shells on the pictured plate are beach worn specimens from the Pacific side of Panama. The shell collectors who primarily collect shells on the beaches of southwest Florida will recognize the family or genus of the shells, but most probably not recognize the species. The cone shells are particularly easy to spot, but those purple ones are so different than what we find on/around Sanibel/Florida. Not surprisingly, the purple cone is Conus purpurascens (aka the Purple Cone), http://www.gastropods.com/3/Shell_713.shtml . The pictures really do not do this cone justice. Many of my specimens of this species from Panama are quite purple, as show in Pam’s picture. On the plate there is also a Ficus or fig shell, similar to the paper fig shell that we find on Sanibel, however this is the Panamanian one, which is the Swollen Fig Shell or Ficus ventricosa, http://www.gastropods.com/7/Shell_2807.shtml . The larger cowries are most probably the Pacific Deer Cowrie, Cypraea cervinetta. This shell is similar to, but slightly different than, the Atlantic Deer Cowrie, http://www.gastropods.com/5/Shell_515.shtml and the Measled Cowrie, http://www.gastropods.com/7/Shell_517.shtml , both found in the Florida Keys. Because the pictured shells are “beach worn”, these usually glossy cowrie shells have lost their typical color pattern. With the exception of one shell, the rest of the shells on the plate appear to be from the Pacific side of Panama. The one shell in the picture that is definitely not from Panama is the smaller one with orange/tan spots at the bottom of the picture. This shell is a Spiral Babylon (aka Babylonia spirata), http://www.gastropods.com/0/Shell_10.shtml , which comes from the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. I have personally collected this shell in Malaysia. Because this colorful shell is often present in the thousands on intertidal sand bars, it is easily collected and is a frequent component of inexpensive baskets of shells sold in a variety of shell/souvenir shops.
As you might guess, my favorite family of shells is the Murex shells. The large, black & white, spiny murex on the boards/decking is the Radix or Radish Murex (aka Hexaplex radix), http://www.gastropods.com/8/Shell_978.shtml . It is a beautiful shell. When this shell is alive, the spines are often so sharp that they will cut/puncture the hand, if the holder is not careful. I speak from unpleasant experience.
Since most of these shells come from the Pacific side of Panama, the oil spill in the northern Gulf of Mexico will have no effect on them. I hope this information is helpful. MK
I also loved South of Broad, what a great read. After reading this, I went back and read Beach Music by Pat Conroy because I had never read it when it came out. It was also REALLY good. Our book club just read Sara’s Key, Outstanding read if anyone is looking. Oh to get back to Sanibel, the oil spill has our beach at Orange Beach messed up really bad. I may have to head south!! Love the blog.
Those shells look so amazing!!
OK, now I want to go to Panama too!! And thanks MurexKen for telling me which coast I need to visit! Going to need to add it to my bucket list as well!!
Gorgeous! Love the variety she was able to collect and the color spectrum just knocked me out.
wow those shells are beautiful ~ i’ve been at the wrong beach this whole time! :)
Please keep us updated about the current books ypir group is reading. I ordered the Pat Conroy book to read.
Hey, was wondering where on the pacific side you found most of these? Any particular beach?
all this shells can be found in costa rica too where i live and most of them are relatively easy to find, most of them on rocks the miter shown on the image is very easy to find on beaches the white shell on the top of the plate or thais melones is abundant on rocks the radix murex can be easily found snorkeling at depths of around one meter the swollen fiig shell can be found on the osa peninsula on a size of even four inches the distorsios are not so easy to find but if you make a carefull observation you can find like three in a week the sundial is very common on rock piles in the beach, the star shell is one of the commonest shells in osa the olive shown is abundant on sand in every beach the purple cones are easy to find but the other cone species with lines on it not so much i only have one the cup and slipper shells are the commonest shells on costa rica the pacific deer cowries are common too but i have never seen those tritons on costa rica but you can find prettier tritons
First: I love your website! I was looking if I could find information about a certain shell I have found on the beach in Panama (country) -it is a green one, triangle shape and a whole in the middle.
Second: oh yes you can find all of these shells at the photo at the beaches in Panama, at least if you mean Panama the country. I can’t /don’t know how to upload a photo, but otherwise I could have proof it to you :-). (Including the purple/blue shells -indeed beautiful!)
Thank you for your nice website/blog! Ciaoooo