- 1 box- from USPS
- 2 cups- Campbell’s Soup thermoses
- 3 heaping handfulls- ALPHABET CONES
- 1 friend with a great sense of humor
Package all of these ingredients up and send them to a sheller to make them smile for months and months!
I received this ALPHABET SOUP for the soul package from SS Leah – the crazy redhead up in Pinellas County. It tickled me silly! She said she found so many of these ALPHABET CONES up at Sand Key (near Indian Rocks Beach) after they had a dredge project. She said “Once I had a bucket full, I had to figure out what to do with them and all that kept running thru my mind was… I have quite a bit of alphabet soup here!” LOL That’s so clever! I love it!
After looking at her shells a bit closer, it seemed that all of them were more yellow than ours from Sanibel. So I put it next to the most predominant color we find here and yes, it looks more yellow. Then I got out some of our ALPHABET CONES that we’ve found further south like in Marco… most of them are much darker but this one was almost black. I’ve never found one this dark in Sanibel/Captiva! So I lined them up so you can see too. Leah sent me the one on the left, the middle is from Sanibel and the one on the right is from Marco. Cool, huh? Thank you Leah!!! I always feel better when I laugh that hard! :)
That is the best soup ever….
What a sweet friend. Now that I’m moving to Marco, it’s nice to have a clue about the differences I’ll see in some of the shells there. Haven’t found an alphabet cone yet, but I did find my first two nutmegs at Llighthouse on Saturday. Yay!! It’s the little things that make me so happy. ;-)
The alphabet cones are beautiful. How fortunate for your friend to be at the right place at the right time to find them. Pam, your observation about the color of the alphabet cones is an interesting one, which is seen in many cone species and is related to their biology. The Florida cone (aka Conus anabathrum) also exhibits similar color pattern differences. The Florida cones from Sanibel tend to be a little different in color pattern than the ones from Marco Island. The ones in the Florida Keys are even more different and have sometimes been considered a different subspecies/species. Perhaps a small amount of additional information may be helpful. The life cycle of most seashells or mollusks includes a free-living (aka veliger) stage, which permits them to travel with the currents and disperse. Such dispersal depends upon many factors, including the length of time of the veliger stage and the speed of the currents. Once the veliger begins to form a shell, it becomes too heavy to swim, and it settles to the bottom of the ocean, wherever that happens to be. Many cone shells have a very short or non-existent veliger stage, and the juvenile cone mollusks literally crawl away from their egg cases with the very first part of their shell (aka protoconch). Because of this, many populations of cone species are geographically isolated. As such, they tend to have similar coloration in one area and different coloration in another area. However, such differences in color may also be due to differences in habitat and food sources. To some extent, we are what we eat, which is why there is more of some of us than others. More to love. ;~)
“We are what we eat”- hahaha. MK-So are you saying that the Marco cones are eating too much dark chocolate? heehee Seriously,THANK YOU for such great info!
Busted! No eating too much chocolate without it showing somewhere… Coloration on the cones, on the hips for us poor humans.
I always enjoy MurexKens weigh-ins… Er…
LOL Sanibelle, im bustin a gut from ur comment ” weigh-in” and gaining fondness for those chocolate cones. Hahah
I got quite a kick out of seeing that post today Pam! :-)
I giggle every time I look up on top of my bakers rack in my kitchen (of on my desk at work in front of my monitor) and see my alphabet soup thermos/bowl and those gorgeous alphie cones. I’m so glad you find it as humorous as I did when I put it all together. :-)
Some day we WILL run into each other on a beach somewhere and share a laugh.
Have a great weekend! Leah :-)
LOL Thank you again Leah! You make me smile every time I look at it! I cant wait until we meet so I can give you a big hug! :)
That is such a sweet and clever gesture!! So very, very cute. Great job, Leah!
Pam, Hope you are feeling better and can get back on the beaches again.
LOVE the differences in coloration picture you have there… and thanks Ken for the great explanation on why we see those differences around the Gulf coast. I noticed that our Scotch Bonnets here are much more pale than what you’ve shown Pam… and they are much much more pale than pictures of those I’ve seen found off the Atlantic Coast. So interesting how shells vary as much (or more) as humans do… the same, but different and varying shades.
That sure is a delectable kind of soup! And a really interesting post! Thanks Pam!
Any can is a good can!
This is just an adorable idea. I like to do quirky ideas for my friends when they are feeling a litle down, this is a great one to consider. BUT, first I must find the alphabet cones…Quess I’ll just have to return to Sanibel…….Oh I did find one nice alphabet this June when we were vacationing on Sanibel. However my friends deserve more than just one so as Arnold would say. ” I’ll be back”
Hope to see you again Pam……L-O-R-E-E
What a clever and creative idea. I will have to check the colour of the Alphabet Cone I found in Indian Shores last year. How lucky for Leah to have found so many. We found mostly Fighting Conch shells in that area last year when they were dredging the beach. That is how I found your site-I was trying to identify all the shells we found.
What a great idea Leah. I didn’t find any alphabet cones this year. Several years ago I found a live alphabet in the water(I put it back) and the the spots were darker-almost a purple color. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. I seem to remember reading that the colors are darker when the shell is alive and will fade a little after it dies. MurexKen do you know if this is true?
Pat, your question is a most interesting one. Here are several responses. Hopefully one of these will answer your question.
We have beautiful queen conchs that we found about six weeks ago in the Florida Keys, and we have ones that we found 50 years ago. The ones that we found six weeks ago are shiny and have brilliant pink-orange colors. The ones that we found 50 years ago once were shiny with brilliant colors, but these colors have faded with the passing years. The shell surface is no longer shiny, but dull. I believe that the difference in the colors of these shells relates to the aging of the natural pigments in the shells and the degrading effects of sunlight and/or U.V. light. Because of this concern, I keep most of our shells in cabinets in a temperature-controlled room with drawn shades and no lights, except when I am working with the shells. Such an environment helps to preserve the natural colors of the shells, although the colors still deteriorate over a long enough time.
Many shells, including many cone shells, have a very thin film or skin on their external surface. This film is called the periostricum. Pam has discussed the “periostricum” in some of her previous posts, most often with the Florida Horse Conch, which usually has a thick periostricum in the larger shells. The shell-forming organ of the mollusk is called the mantle. The mantle secretes the calcium carbonate and protein matrix that forms the seashell. It also secretes the thin, external proteinaceous layer that is called the periostricum. The mantle also has pigment producing cells that genetically turn on and off to generate the color patterns in the seashell that we all enjoy so much. The overlying periostricum covers the external surface of the shell and slightly shades or darkens the underlying colors of the seashell, when observed thru the periostricum. After the mollusk dies, the seashell tends to lose its periostricum by physical aggitation (rolling around on the sand on the way to the beach). Without the periostricum, the underlying colors of the shell are usually a little lighter because they are not covered by the thin periostricum. Perhaps that is what you have noticed. After the shell dies (and the periostricum is no longer present) the underlying colors are lighter. Bleaching the shell can also produce the same effect because bleaching removes the thin periostricum.
Lastly, I have noticed a few live mollusks that have shells with a brilliance of color, almost an iridescence that disappears quickly after the mollusk dies. This is a personal observation, which I have not discussed with many others. Whether this brilliance/iridescence is a feature of the living periostricum that disappears when the mollusk dies or is just a figment of my imagination, I cannot honestly say for sure, but it is my personal observation. I hope that this information is helpful.
Another comment may be helpful. Seashells are beautiful. Finding and enjoying seashells is a whole lot of fun, one of the true pleasures of this world. People can collect and enjoy seashells in whatever way and at whatever level they want. Whatever works for them is what they need to do. I personally enjoy learning all I can about seashells and mollusks, but that is a personal preference. Isn’t it wonderful that our 22 month old grandson can enjoy seashells as much as MurexAlice and I do, if not more.
Thanks MurexKen. I enjoy my shells and I hope at least one of my grandchildren will also.
Your comment about the iridescence disappearing after the mollusk dies makes a lot of sense. If you think about it, it’s probably true with all life forms.
Oh no! my nutty buddy craving is back, lol!!!
We were in Naples in July, and my sweet 11 year old girl found 3 Alphabet Cones! Me, zero! All were about the same color as yours from Sanibel.
We’re going to Longboat Key for a week tomorrow, and I hope we’ll come home with a nice haul. ;-)
Such a sight brings such delight!
Murex Ken, can you recommend more reading on what you described? You explain things beautifully.
Terry, there is a small, paperback book that I was given many years ago that discusses in relatively non-scientific terms a lot of what I have described. This book is “Seashells of North America: A Guide to Field Identification” by R. Tucker Abbott, Revised Edition, 1986. It is still in print and is available as a new or used book from Amazon and a number of other book sellers. With shipping you probably can acquire a used copy of this book for not much more than $5-6. For such a small book, it contains an impressive amount of interesting & useful information about seashells and mollusks and presents it in a relatively easy to understand manner. Hope this helps.
Love, love, love this Alphabet Soup story and the information that readers contributed … quite a day brightener! :-)
So glad that you showed all three colors. Now I realize I do have these in Cholla Bay (Puerto Penasco) Silly me I was looking for an A B C. love all the comments and fun with shells.
Janet in AZ
I’m envious…to have sooo many alphabet cones! What an insightful and unique idea :)
What a great idea!