I would have done the happy shelling dance for an hour if I was the one that found this ATLANTIC DEER COWRIE on the beach of Sanibel.
I still want to do the happy shelling dance for one of our favorite shellers who found this exceptional seashell….. Mother Earth Marilyn!!! I know you remember her because she is the one who was the star rescuer in Saving Sandy The Sanderling. We emailed each other after Sandy The Sanderling was released back to the wild to celebrate Sandy and our experience…. then she sent these photos.
She said she found this DEER COWRIE on the beach at mile marker 6.5 in front of private houses…no hotels, no condo complexes. I’m sure she had to walk a ways south east from the Sanibel side of Blind Pass to get there. That’s a beautiful stretch of beach and she probably had it all to herself. Congrats on a wonderful find, Mother Earth Marilyn!
Clark found a beautiful COWRIE like this in the keys about 12 years ago but have never seen them on the west coast and it isn’t a shell native to our area. Marilyn was concerned if it was legitimate and someone may have played a joke on her. I’m no seashell migration expert or scientist but I believe that this was a legit find and it was a gift of the sea for her good deeds in watching over nature in need. Did I tell you that she is the president of her local nature club? (I knew nothing about her before I nicknamed her Mother Earth Marilyn. Uncanny, huh?)
The DEER COWRIE is the largest COWRIE in the world.
The COWRIE’S body (mantle) partially covers the outside of the shell so when it moves around it constantly cleans and polishes the glossy outer surface of the shell. This also keeps BARNACLES and sponges from attaching themselves to damage the shell. That’s why they stay so shiny and glossy!