Someone asked me the other day “How can you tell if the eggs are dead or alive in a (MOLLUSK) EGG CASING?”. I had posted a photo of little tiny shells in the capsule of a LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CASE on my post Beach Bling Babes when the question came up. The whole EGG CHAIN I had shown was completely dried and pretty crumbly so it was safe to say that there were no living baby MOLLUSKS in there. So when I picked up a few TRUE TULIP EGG CASES this morning at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach and saw that they may still be alive, I wanted to show you the difference. Since I’m no scientist, I can’t tell you these little TRUE TULIP EGGS were definitely alive, but they sure looked like they could still be viable to me since they were still encased in their fluid capsules.
I also looked at the little hole in the top of the capsule and saw that it was still plugged. After about a month, when the babies are ready to come out, the pore opens up (that I’m showing in the photo above) and the young will creep out. So my theory is, if I don’t know something is dead, I have to assume it’s still alive. So I put the EGG CLUSTERS back in the water to maybe have a chance of surviving. You can see it much more clearly in this video….
YEEWWW HOOOO, CYBERSHELLERS! I have something different today. I bent down to pick up a BUTTON SHELL, then saw several fun mini goodies so I thought you might enjoy seeing them too. Click on the next photo to enlarge. Have fun!
PS- Come shelling with me! Here’s how…
Thank you for posting this today. I saw several of these on West Gulf yesterday but I wasen’t sure which shells they were for (of course I could have looked it up here, but I’ve been spending too much time on the beach – ha). The time on this wonderful island always goes much too fast.
Donna R. – After you get here let me know where and when to meet. Other than Wednesday morning our schedule is open.
As my aunt used to say “lordy, mercy me” at all those mini babies! What are the ones that look like they have a silver top?
I can’t believe how many wentletraps are in that picture …. drives me batty !! lol When I came there in Sept. I couldn’t find any by the lighthouse
Love it! the cybershelling photo is awesome. I see the Wentletraps but what are the ones that look “Olive” shaped, white with the colored tips. They are very interesting. So excited…can’t wait to try and find some Wentletraps when I get there! We are staying not far from the lighthouse.
Hi Christine, they r rice olives. Cool, huh? Check out this post http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2012/02/10/tiny-trail-in-the-sand/
Thanks for sharing about the egg casings! When we come down we always enjoy seeing shells in all stages of development – it’s always a fantastic science lesson for my son! I am so glad to see you rescuing them, we’re always busy placing live ones back in the water at low tides! Those minis are just awesome, too!!!!!!! So many!!!!!!
Ohhhhhh….Love these beautiful tiny shells…where were they when I was looking!!!
What a beautiful image of the tiny shells! Thanks Pam!
Pam – What sheer joy to cybershell in your photo…so many tiny shells nestled among the seaweed…You made my day…and just think how many micro shells I would be there, too!!! Thank you for being so thoughtful for posting your photo…
Love the minis! Glad to see that you are finding great things at the Lighthouse again.
About the egg casings: I have been told that they are doomed, once they come in on the shore. They are laid beneath the water, attached to something that SHOULD hold them in place. That is what keeps them at the proper temperature for their development. When they become dislodged, and they get into other temperatures, particularly once they wash up on the beach and are in the sun. If you found one that had just washed up and threw it back in, it still wouldn’t stay at the right temperature.
I can’t remember where I heard or read that– shelling museum, perhaps?
hmmmm. Good info. I’m gonna ask the folks at the shell museum then. I would have loved to keep those cases to look at them a little closer at home but I couldnt stand to have ruined those babies that look like they were so close to being on their own.
You’re welcome– I know just what you mean about not wanting to ruin their chance of survival. I felt precisely the same way, which is why I was interested to read about this wherever it was I saw the information.
Love the minis! Found the lightning whelk. I think I will still throw back any egg cases that I find. I had someone ask me what they were. She said her husband said they were snake skins from underwater snakes. Next time(next year I hope) I’ll take a small net to scoop up the minis.
Oh my gosh….this reminds me of the SHELLABALOO when you showed me and Rob how to find wentletraps, rice olives and tusks!!!!!
When we come back in August for our wedding Im gonna show my daughter how to find them…she loves mini’s!!!
Thanx so much for the cyber shelling!!!!! We love love love to cyber shelling!!!
Just returned from an island vacation and could hardly wait to get back to check out your blog and try to identify the shells I found. I found several sunrise tellins with both sides attached, atlantic bubbles, painted egg or velvet egg cockles (I can’t tell which), keyhole limpets, moonshells, ceriths, tubans and lots of minis. Also found some tiny black and white crab shells that I can’t find identified anywhere. Had some cute little star fish wash up at my feet, but they were alive so I had to return them to the ocean. Found a few scallop shells with someone home that I had to put back as well. I had a great time looking for shells, even ventured down to the beach at night with my flashlight.
Tammi, which island did you go to???
We were in Cuba. I know you guys can’t go there.
Wonderful post! Thanks for the high res image!
TY for the (cyber)shelling fix !
Love this!! Can’t wait for July! How do you find so many amazing spots? Love the white shell with the silvery tip, what is that? Thanks for posting, just had more snow this weekend, love to see the Sanibel shells!
I always try to convince my husband that I need to STAY at Sanibel forever because my “job” is to toss egg casings back into the water. lol I learned this from going to Bailey’s Shell Museum the first year we went to Sanibel. When I’m not shelling, shopping or eating on the island, I’m busy tossing casings back into the water. :) I can’t wait to get there in April!
Hi Pam.. as always, love your post. It is so great how you have made this a true community blog for all that enjoy the same passion as yourself for the sea and shelling.. I have a quick question. whne you click on that bottom photo of minis in the ‘debri’.. in the top right, say 1 1/2 inch space… to the bottom left of that space there is a little almost heart shaped- tooth like, only long shell. what are these? I found a few last year and couldn’t id them.. they are very delicate. thanks.
I think it is a fish scale but its hard to tell in this photo. It could be just a broken shell but I found a few tarpon scales this week and it looks similar but this one is really tiny. I never saw it when I took this photo. I figured there were some things in there that I never would see but that would be interesting. Fun stuff!