After returning home from a shell collecting trip, there are tasks of unpacking, cleaning and sorting to begin some sort of process for organization. I’ve written a few posts on our trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (read them by CLICKING HERE) but there were so many shells I could not identify like this GOLD-MOUTH TRITON.
Clark and I are familiar with Southwest Florida shells, but the different species of shells from Cuba? Not so much. So to find the identity of some of these Caribbean shells we found in Guantanamo Bay … I’ve had my nose stuck in oodles of books, surfed through gobs of websites and also very thankful for the exshellent help from MurexKen (Thank you!). Here are some of the books I used for research…
If you have ever collected shells from the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Virgin Islands or any where else in the Caribbean, these identifications along with our other shelling trip posts might help you identify your shells too. I was so excited when we got back, I made a mistake by calling this a CUBAN FROG SHELL (CLICK HERE to see the photo I’m referring to). It’s NOT! It’s a CORRUGATED (or GAUDY) FROG SHELL.
After feeling a little embarrassed about the wrong ID, I got over it pretty quickly since they look so similar. Live, Shell and Learn. That’s half the fun of going to a new destination to find shells….we get to see and learn about other shells from around the world! So now you can see why I got these guys mixed up. Here’s the CUBAN FROG SHELLS (or also called GRANULAR FROG SHELLS) …
We also found KNOBBED TRITONS…
These REHDERI TRITONS look similar to the KNOBBED but have that darker brown color on the inner lip. Beautiful!
See how similar some of these shells are? This next one is the DOG HEAD TRITON.
FYI- I changed this photo on August 9, 2013 since the original shell photograph was not a DOG HEAD TRITON. Lee from GTMO graciously took this photo of DOG HEAD TRITONS so I could show what they look like (since I mentioned them already). The funny thing is, we have soooo many fab shells from GTMO that I could have posted about and I chose one shell… that I misidentified …. and then didn’t have the real thing to show you? geez Whaddupwidat? LOL Thanks Lee for the photo!
I showed you the incredibly hairy ATLANTIC HAIRY TRITON that Lee found (if you missed it CLICK HERE) but we were thrilled to even find some “hairless” HAIRY TRITONS. Here’s the bald version…
Can you believe all the different TRITONS? This one is the SHELLY DWARF TRITON.
One more TRITON for the day… the ANGULAR TRITON. The orange one with the white tips is spectashellar!
We found more CONES too! It’s astounding to me how many different CONE species there are throughout the world … especially throughout the Caribbean. Since there are so many varieties of CONES, I’m almost positive this one is the CARDINAL CONE…
The MOUSE CONE is a little smaller, squatter and looks a bit more faded than the CARDINAL but we had so much fun finding them because they were everywhere.
We found CROWN CONES in 7 different colors from banana to dark chocolate which seemed pretty common too.
Some of the MUREXES are so different from ours here in Sanibel as well. We found Antilles Murexes in a few spots but most had broken tails. They are still beautiful!
The WEST INDIAN MUREX shells we found remind me so much of our LACE MUREX, right?
I don’t know what they feed the APPLE MUREX shells down there but they are giganshellous! Really, this is an APPLE MUREX next to a quarter. Did a cargo ship of Miracle Grow spill over down there? Ha!
This is next shell was listed as a DOG WINKLE in one of my books but it looks nothing like a DOG WINKLE in any of the others… maybe it’s a CHESTNUT LATIRUS? This was such a plain shell next to the other TRITONS, MUREXES and others but we saw hundreds of them so I hope that yall can help with me with it. The best I found was LEUCOZONIA LEUCOZONALIS (no common name?) but when “NASSA” came up in search results, those shells look so knobby compared to these. Yes, they are beach worn just like all of our other shells but I doubt they all got this smooth at the same time.
So… what do YOU think? UPDATE: Consensus says they are CHESTNUT LATIRUS- LEUCOZONIA LEUCOZONALIS
There are still dozens of shells I haven’t identified and maybe one day I’ll get back to identifying all of them but for now, I’ll enjoy looking at them displayed in my living room but I’m ready to get back to my favorite beaches… Sanibel and Southwest Florida beaches! I hope you enjoyed the shells and posts from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba thanks again to Lee and Susan for such a great shell adventure!
PS- We have new dates for our iLoveShelling Cruises to shell together on the secluded island of Cayo Costa! Come join us! CLICK HERE for more info.
I’ve found two mouse/crown cones…hard to tell which. I didn’t know the name previously. Thank you for the identification! Gorgeous shells!
Love seeing the shells from other beaches! Just beautiful!
BTW trying to plan for future trips– is the date set for next year’s Shellabration? Will it be in March again for 2014?
I’m surprised the shells are so different in Cuba than here in Cayman.
So, Mark! what kind of shells do you have there in grand caymans?? Do they wash up on the beach or do you have to dive for them?
Can anyone tell me which are the best caribbean islands for shelling from the beach?
Hi, was this a shelling tour or Cuba??? That is awesome!! Was it a hard time getting there??
My husband Clark and I were invited! Awesome, right? Read about it here… http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2013/07/02/weekend-collecting-seashells-guantanamo-bay-cuba/
Your shells are beautiful!!! My family is vacationing there in Sanibel next week. We should be in on Monday morning before dawn. I am heading straight to blind pass since we cant check in to the hotel until 4pm. I hope to see you on one of the beaches while we are there. So excited to get my SHELLING on!!!!
LOVE those angular tritons! Can’t wait to visit my birthplace (Freeport Bahamas) some time so I can find some fun/interesting shells. :-)
There are two incredible books for you to consider looking for. If you want to be able to id everything you find check out “Bahamian Seashells A Thousand Species from Abaco, Bahamas. If you want to read a book that is pure joy, written by a local that you can get in Bahamas (or amazon) check out “A Shell Game” (although on the spine it says “A Book of Shells”. There is actually a shell game in the book. It is a decent id book for common shells is written with the flavor of a local and the philosophy of one who cares deeply about protecting local marine mollusks. And it’s just a fun read. I think I got it on amazon, but it is listed with a ridiculously high price new and I would suspect a used copy will be missing the game. You can get it locally in the Bahamas too.
I love your post and especially this one about all the new finds. One request. Can you place a quarter (like you did in the one photo) or something else to help us determine size. Thanks! And keep on shelling!
It is always interesting learning about all the different shells. Keep up the great posts.
You have oodles of interesting shells. Your shell books look nice too. I’d love a nice collection of shelling books.
I can see why you had difficulty ID the shells. Those tritons look so much alike!I have some of those books too. I also like the box of jingle shells that you have on the table . Now you can go back on the beach, have fun.
When is a Triton, not a Triton? When it is Dwarf Triton. Dwarf Tritons (Colubraria) are actually members of the Buccinidae, unless they have moved again (sorry to be so geeky).
I won’t tell you how many shades of green I’ve turned reading about your findings. Most remarkable.
lolol Ditto your last remarks Doug! Thankfully no one can here my whimpers of longing for shelling in Cuba
I’ve never seen Angular Tritons before, those are… just amazing, the shape of them. Such variety in your Cuba collection, very impressive!
Pam, you and Clark really did find an incredible variety of shells. The tritons (aka Cymatiums) are one of my favorite shell families, probably my most favorite family, after the murexes. The color variation of your angular tritons is impressive. All of the tritons you have pictured I have found in the Florida Keys, except for the Rehder’s triton. I would very much like to find some of them. As usual, your pictures are very well done. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Pam, What a really great haul! WooHoo! Excellent biodiversity at that particular Cuban location!
Your “dog’s head triton” is actually another knobbed triton. See how the white callus is kind of spread out next to the aperture? In the dog’s head triton the callus has a neat, crisp, almost bulging edge. Also, the dog’s head triton is larger, and the sculpture is a great deal more regular and tidy looking than the knobbed triton.
You are quite right about your Leucozonia leucozonalis (common name is the “chestnut latirus”) — what you have there is the “knobless” or “smooth” form, and that is why it looks so different from the pictures you see in most of the books. There is one image of a smooth one on the gastropods.com site, here:
The dwarf tritons is very cool. Doug is correct — they are not real tritons. They have been moved around from family to family several times; currently they have their own family, the Colubrariidae, and are grouped into a superfamily along with the families of the whelks, dove shells, latirus, mud whelks, etc.
The dwarf triton you found does appear to be Colubraria testacea, the “shelly dwarf triton”, but apparently there are three other species in this genus in the Caribbean Sea, and two of them are currently un-named! (This according to the illustrious author Harry G. Lee of the Jacksonville Shell Club).
P.S. I am not that good at ID-ing some of the Caribbean cones, but those reddish cones you found do closely resemble the cardinal cone, even though I see that species is not on the Malacolog list for Cuba.
It’s all just Latin names, but the Malacolog list of marine mollusks for the Cuban province of Guantanamo is here:
And the complete list of marine mollusk records for Cuba (which includes -hold on to your hat – 19 different cone species!) is here:
P.P.S. The “cardinal cone” may possibly be one species which varies from island to island, or it may be a species complex (a group of closely interrelated species). The IUCN red list says:
…The “Conus cardinalis complex” refers to a range of shells that vary in colour and shape, and this has led to a plethora of synonyms. The complex contains the species C. abbotti, C. caysalensis, C. cidaris, C. dianthus, C. donnae, C. harasewychi, C. lucaya, C. ortneri, C. stanfieldi and C. theodorei.”…
Pam, is the cardinal cone listed in “The GTMO Shell Book”?
I love love love the great information Doug, Susan H and MurexKen! There was so much information to take in about all of these “new” shells! So glad you reminded me that the the Shelly Triton wasnt really a triton. We even found miniature triton trumpets too but didn’t have time to photograph them yet. I could spent months going through them! I’m looking into the dog head- you’re right! it looks like a knobbed! im looking for my daog head right now- im sure we found one!
A new dog-head triton photo is up and running! Thank you for the correction Susan H!
Is there any way to take a cruise to Gitmo from Fla?
All I can say is wow. They are so beautiful. I never cease to be amazed by the wonder and beauty of nature.
This is just wonderful. I have been trying for a year to identify this Frog-shell-like seashell that my parents picked up in Lombok, Indonesia only to realize that it’s a Gold Mouthed Triton! :D Never would I have ever imagined that a shell found in the Caribbean could be found almost half a world away… Thank you Pam!
I think the Angular Triton may be my new favorite :-).
just did a quickie search on crown cones– turns out the yellow ones are really rare! Congrats! :D
PS: The book I searched in uses four terms to tell the amount of shells there are. The terms are : common (like a calico scallop), moderately common (like a fig shell), uncommon (junonia or bonnet shell), and rare (yellow crown cone).
Hi Pam, What a fabulous haul! I’m going to be in Guantanamo and would love to know the location and how to get to this beach from the town. Any suggestions for beaches would be appreciated. I was planning to continue to Baracoa but it’s now destroyed by hurricane Matthew and I have extra days in Guantanamo which let’s face it, doesn’t warrant a 5-day stay. Thanks much!
Would you be willing to take a crack at identifying a seashell of mine?
I’m new to collecting sea shells. I purchased a poster and have done a
rather complete web search but I just can’t seem to find out what it is.
It looks something like a McGinty’s Latirus but the spiral is not as extruded
as most of the images I see. Perhaps I am trying to find an exact match
when I should not. If you email me I will send you pictures.