There are so many different COCKLE SHELLS that live here in SouthWest Florida! Clark even found this wonderful ALBINO FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLE this weekend…
I’m sure that it’s an ALBINO since the shell looks so fresh with the ribs perfectly in tact without that dull matte finish that you get with beach worn shells.
Since I received a comment from Pat Bradley on a post last week who suggested that I add the PAINTED COCKLE on my Seashell Identification page (Thank you Pat for the great suggestion!) I couldnt stop thinking about how many different COCKLES there are. So when Clark found the ALBINO COCKLE I remembered I needed to photograph the PAINTED EGG COCKLE…
Then I realized I didn’t have the very common FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLE on my Shell Identification page either… Geez, so many COCKLES. I’m getting frazzled!
So I might as well show the whole gaggle of COCKLES we have in our collection of shells. This includes of course the ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLE…
And probably my favorite… the YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE.
Well wait, I take that back. I think the BROAD PAPER COCKLE is my favorite COCKLE but I just don’t find them often. Take a close look… have you found lots of these?
We can’t forget about the tiny MORTON’S EGG COCKLE either! They are so stinkin cute!
And finally, we have the VELVET EGG COCKLE (which I normally just call it a plain ol EGG COCKLE)
There is a STRAWBERRY COCKLE as well, but I didn’t find one this weekend when I looked for COCKLES and I can’t remember ever picking one up. So when we find one, (and we will definitely be keeping our eyes peeled!) I’ll let you know.
But before I sign off for tonight, I met a really nice local gal Mary Beth from Fort Myers on the beach by the Sanibel fishing pier. (yes, the water is that ice tea color again… too much rain so overflow of the lake and river – ugh. It will clear up soon)
While I was looking for COCKLES, she was on the hunt for minis. She showed me this sweet little MARGINELLA along with some other excellent specimens.
Frazzled by a gaggle of cockles!….wow! That’s a mouthful! Try saying that 3 times in a row!! seriously…love the shells, cockles & all!!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a broad paper cockle on Sanibel. There’s another to add to my list! I love yellow prickly cockles too. I found a tiny (double) Morton’s egg cockle a few months back, but I accidentally broke it in two when I got home. They are sooo cute! The albino shells are so special, too! Love this post!
Thanks for putting all the cockle pictures on your website Pam. I started finding the Painted cockle a few years ago-they’re so cute! They are small so alot of people overlook them. I haven’t found any pairs of Morton’s egg cockles except for a live one. I have found some of the Paper cockle, but I have also found some Purplish Semele and the Cancellate Semele. They look so much alike! I always have to check Trish Hartmann’s book before I label them. Love your website Pam
Great post Pam. The more I learn & study shells the more I realize I have many kinds. I thought my shells were all sorted & with each new discovery comes a round of resorting. And resorting.
I’ll be down in less than a week, can you have a good strong wind storm the end of this week to stir mother ocean up?? Time to clean your floor momma ocean & push the bling on Sanibel !!
Happy shelling all,
I do find the paper cockle here and there, my favorite. My eye catches the colors. When I eventually find enough of the same size and coloring, they will someday make beautiful shell fowers! Thanks for all the info, great post!
I’m making a mirror for my friend and the outside border is made with yellow prickly cockles and the inside border is the small apple murex.
I choose the yellow because it is going to be hung on a white wall.
I’ll take a picture when I’m finished.
Happy Shelling everyone :-)
Very nice post Pam! The scientific name for the cockle family is Cardiidae. And yes, Sanibel really has some beautiful species in that family. I particularly love the painted egg cockles and the broad egg cockles. I see you’ve found a few really nice valves of the broad cockle.
Thanks for the information about the cockles. At one time you wrote about a great book about seashells. Would you please repeat the name as I think I need to buy it. I am also looking for a good starter book for children. Marilyn
I have a few treasured paper cockles– hard to find and the colors are varied and beautiful. I’ve always called them spiny paper cockles… Looks identical to what you call broad paper cockle, so same thing, I assume.
Ok, now it’s coming back to me… There are two very similar paper cockles and I was wrong to call mine spiny. I do have the broad paper cockles, P. lata.
That’s right Bird, they ARE actually two different kinds, although they are quite similar, except the broad cockle sometimes has those really gorgeous colors, and also tends to be much more smooth and shiny than the spiny paper cockle. For a long time experts thought they were just varieties of one species, but it is actually two species.
The spiny cockle is not yet on Jose’s list for the SWFL area, although it is supposed to live in West Florida. Bird, did you ever find a spiny cockle shell on Sanibel?
I found a shell in 2002 that i thought was a spiny paper cockle . In 2006 I found a couple of whole ones on Bowman’s Beach. They look like the picture that Trish Hartmann has in her book-with serrated edges. So I’m not sure now which paper cockle I have found
Ah, OK, now I understand! The paper cockle shown on page 114 of Trish Hartmann’s book is actually P. lata, the broad paper cockle, even though she calls it P. soleniformis, the spiny cockle. I guess when the book was put together (it was published in 2006), Hartmann had not read or heard about the 2002 paper that made it clear that the two were separate species! Before that they were thought to be one species.
If you take a look at the webpage I have put a link to below, and scroll down almost to the end, you will see a very good comparison of the two species.
Susan H, great info!
Pam, What a treat to meet you the other day! Thank you for not thinking I was stalking you while you we’re on the phone :-) . I recognized you by your voice! Even better was that I had shells to show you! I was especially proud of my Marginella. Now to check through my collection to see what cockles I have, always an educator you are, thank you!
Maribeth M from Fort Myers
Really beautiful minis Maribeth! A gorgeous selection. Well done! I love minis, and micros too. :)
Thanks Susan! Sometimes, its not about the big shells. ;-)
Wow! I enjoy this site so much. I am happiest at the beach looking for shells, but this is the next best thing. Thanks for sharing these awesome finds. Someday I will visit these Florida beaches (I shell in California). Love your selections, always makes me smile.
Thanks for all your help Susan. It’s had to keep up with all the changes
Yes, it is hard to keep up with the changes, but interesting too I guess. I have to try to keep up with them because I write papers. But I really only know a lot about those shells that also occur in the West Indies. A lot of the Sanibel species don’t occur in the West Indies.
Susan, good information. Thanks for posting it. Pam, I have never found the Dove Strawberry Cockle, http://shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=221 on Sanibel Island. I have found the “sister” Strawberry Cockle, the Atlantic Strawberry Cockle, http://www.jaxshells.org/mediaaa.htm in several locations around south Florida and in the Caribbean, but have found neither on Sanibel Island. Although I really like the BMSM list of SWFL shells and cite it often, there are a few ways that it could be improved. One is to provide some indication of the relative frequency that the shells are found.
Hi MurexKen Back in 2005 I printed out a copy of the BMSM list of SWFL shells and they had the shell as spiny paper cockle. They have since corrected the list, but I never checked. I saw what was in Trish’s book and thought I was right. Yes it would be nice to know if a shell was common and where. By the way you wrote a note late month about the rough scallops and we were at the Sundial untill Jan 29th. So you got there a few days before we left. I didn’t find any this past Jan,but I’ll look again next January. I haven’t found any strawberry cookles either.
Pat, thanks for your comments. Glad you saw my reply to your post in Sept. 2010 was the only year that I have found those rough scallop pairs. Glad you found some too.
Hi Pam – Now that I’m back home in Oregon with my shell collection I was wondering if there are any updates on how to bring back the shine on shells. There was quite a lively discussion about this recently and I thought it would be interesting for your readers to share their results from this discussion.
PS: I put my shells in plastic bags and carried them on the plane in my carry-on. Not a single shell broken!
First, I LOVE your blog. We go to Sanibel a couple of times a year. Your site gives me my ‘shell fix’ the rest of the time!
Second, we just got back from Sanibel. I shipped my shells home. When I opened the box the smell nearly knocked me over! I have found the culprit. It’s a whelk shell. I can’t see anything in it, I thought it was empty, but I can smell it. How can I clean it out?
Denice- Yikes! Do you have nozzle with a strong stream on your outside garden hose? If so, take your shell outside and blast the inside of the shell with that hard stream of water. You can aim it so that the gunk flies away from you. This will probably work since whatever was in there was just a left over piece since you can’t see anything. Good Luck!
I’ll give that a try. Thank you.
I have stumbled upon your blog and love it! I am new to shelling, having been recently inspired by my finds on Cape San Blas in Port Saint Joe , FL. I was walking the other day and observed dozens of beautiful Atlantic Giant Cockle shells on the beach and was wondering why they were all the same side of the shell. Do you know what happends to the other side? I went back to verify, and it was the same situation.
Port Saint Joe, FL
What animals live in the Florida Prickly Cockle?????