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 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? 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) or who knows…. it could be just in the DNA. Whatever it is, i LOVE FREAK SHELLS!
Wow. Those shells are incredible. And those homemade kayaks are awesome!!
Love the freaks!!!! how cool… I covet that beautiful Kings Crown in the jar.
How fun… I just found a “curly tail” lightning whelk up here near Ft DeSoto… gotta clean it up and will share on your Facebook page…
Very Cool…Thanks for sharing!!
WoW! I would be so excited to find any of these beauties! Thanks for the post, I enjoy reading about your seashell finds.
Those shells are gorgeous! Especially the white one! WOW!
Very awesome & unique shells !! This is by far the happiest web site around … always SMILES !
Awesome….what cool beauties!
I love the curly tail!! I have a few shells in my collection that are freaks (as well as a few friends who bear the same title); my favorite is a Lightning Whelk with two “tails.”
Wow, I would love to see that!!
I want to see the 2 tailed whelk too!!!
Those are way too cool! Thanks for sharing.
The white, King’s Crown, how do you know it is its natural color? I probably would have been a goof and tried to clean it with bleach and water and then an ultrasonic cleaner. I never know what to do!!
Thanks for sharing these, very interesting to see. Does anyone know how to determine a shells age ?
Wow, strange! On the beach this morning I counted over 300 lighting welk egg cases. Plus other shell egg cases that I didn’t know. Some looked like flowers.
That Kings Crown looks somewhat like an albino.
Having fun on the beach.
That white king’s crown is beautiful.
That has got to be one of the most intriguing posts you have ever done! I have learned, now, that I too love freak shells! So cool!!!
Love the freaky shells! I have a white King’s Crown…I was going to try and clean it. I thought it would look “normal” if cleaned with acid??? Should I leave it alone? Thanks for sharing!
Oh Patsy, it’s your call!
these are neat shells. The kings crown is very close to albino but especially on the spire shot you can see the initial whorls look normal colored and then something went wrong! All white from there, it looks like!
WOW…these are awesome! We will be back in Sanibel May 5th for two weeks…but we usually end up staying 3 to 4 weeks…depending on the grand-kids’ events in Texas!!
We have our I loveshelling caps and Pam we hope to run into you and Clark on the beach. I have a special necklace for you made from Sanibel shells! I will carry it on the beach….I think you will like it!!
Hope to see you in May!!!
Kathie & John Cutler
I just love that you know that song! Will be in Clearwater Beach a week from Thursday…pretty good shelling there, Honeymoon Park, and Caledesi Island! 9 days away from Illinois winter….Woo-Hoo!
Oh boy, I’ve had Le Freak stuck in my head since I read your post. So now I’m listening to it on my Itunes – yes, I date myself. Think I may put a red flower in my hair and pull out the disco dress. :)
Love, love, these freaky shells! I always try to have a scavenger hunt when our friend comes to visit us while we’re on the island. And my favorite catagory is best oddity. But no one has ever come up with anything as good as these specimans! And Shellbelle’s double tailed lightening whelk would be the really cool to see.
Hi Pam, I have always been absorbed with the freak shells too. I was told that when some of the live shells break in the surf they can repair themselves. There is a great freak horse conch that I have that did this. It is on one of the CD’s I sent you. It is labeled freak shell in case you haven’t looked at it yet. The freak shells on today’s post look deformed from some environmental factor.
Sue Bunkin (PA)
I love freak shells too!!! I find them fascinating.
I want to mover there and do what you do Pam. I am alwyas thrilled to see my goodie e-mail from I Love Shelling. I must have given your site to a hundred people at the Sarasota Shell Show last weekend.
Ever think of hosting a shell trip? Anywhere at all count me in.
Thank you Cindy for spreading the iLoveShelling word! But about that shell trip… I’m a terrible organizer ;(. As you have probably noticed, I can’t even post on any regular routine!
Wow, but it would be so much fun to have an iloveshelling meet up group! A goal to shoot for in the future, Pam! Hey, you could even charge a fee to be in the group and it could go to help injured wildlife or clean up the beaches of Sanibel.. I can see the headlines now!! Sanibel Shellers Turn Their Passion for Shelling into Dollars to Help Wildlife!! ;) Sherri from MN
The freak lightning whelks with the curved siphonal canals (and many other distorted-looking freak shells of many different species) are almost certainly a result of predation attempts.
If the whelk is in the sand with the tip of the siphonal canal sticking out (as is often the case with whelks) and if a hungry fish who likes to eat yummy snails comes by (or some other predator), the predator will take a bite, and in the process it will bite off some of the tip of the siphon as well as part of the shell.
The whelk is sometimes able to survive an attack, and if so it will do its best to repair the shell and carry on, however, often the repaired part is not really lined up with the rest of the shell and so you get this distorted effect.
Very interesting, thanks! Love these posts!!