Mollusk-mania

I’d previously written an overview of our visit to South Florida: http://www.inaturalist.org/journal/gcwarbler/4713
including an introduction to some of our experiences shelling on Sanibel Island. I recently uploaded a few teaser observations of “mollusks” in order to describe what it was like to do some serious shelling at that world-renowned location.
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2277245
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2278355
Now it is time for the nitty gritty. I have taken advantage of a rainy spell here in Texas to finish the cropping, editing, and identifying of several hundred mollusk images. In rapid succession, I’ll now be uploading those observations.

Within Sanibel Island, sites where we did major shelling efforts included Blind Pass, Bowman’s Beach, and along West Gulf Drive near our residence. We made smaller collections at Gulfside Beach City Park, Lighthouse Beach Park, and on the Causeway Islands. We studied mollusks (and all other life forms) wherever we were so I have additional images of various species on the mangroves of Ding Darling NWR and even on the Calusa Indian Shell Mound Trail there.

Identifying all the shells has been a huge learning experience for us. I have some basic familiarity with shell families from my decades on beaches in California, Texas, and elsewhere but a great many of the species on Sanibel were new to us. As I previously mentioned, the handiest local published guide has been “Florida’s Seashells, A Beachcomber’s Guide” by Blair and Dawn Witherington (2007, Pineapple Press, Sarasota). A major reference here at home has been my recently-purchased “Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells” by John W. Tunnell Jr. et al. (2010, Texas A&M University Press, College Station). The detailed technical information in that comprehensive work is invaluable since probably 90-95% of the common shells we encountered in Florida also occur in Texas waters; the taxonomy is just a bit newer and updated as well. I’ll defer to whatever taxonomy iNat is currently following. I’ll be adding a few English common names from the above-referenced sources as appropriate.

The most relevant online resource for shell identification might be Jose H. Leal’s “Southwest Florida Shells with Emphasis on Sanibel & Captiva” hosted by the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum site at: http://www.shellmuseum.org/shells/southwest-florida-shells. That site is more comprehensive than the Witherington guide, but it’s not particularly user-friendly. You can search through 330+ species images about two dozen per page, but if you want to focus in on a group, the only “filters” available are by Latin family names; thus you’d need to know the scientific family name you’re seeking. A simpler search function is desperately needed there.

At latest count, we’ve identified upwards of 80 species of mollusks from our Florida trip and there are at least a half dozen remaining to pin down. Excluding a few applesnails here and there and a Cuban brown snail on the house, all the remaining animals are from saltwater or brackish habitats at Sanibel. I don’t yet have a breakdown by classes, orders, or families, but the findings were very diverse, ranging from the Atlantic abra (Abra aequalis) to the aforementioned non-native land snail (Zachrysia provisoria).
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2305506
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2305515
Where we searched, mostly on sandy outer beaches, bivalves far outnumbered gastropods. The biggest shells on the beach were invariably the innumerable stiff pen shells (Atrina rigida), unbroken examples of which ranged up to a foot or more in length,
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2305743
down to a 1.6-mm snail I just found in a sample of beach sand which might be something in the genus Odostomia: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2309420
I have a bowl-full of small bivalves in the 5 to 10-mm range yet to be identified and I am still sorting through a cache of shell and sand debris to look for more micros. (I think a good dissecting microscope will be on my Christmas wish list.) All images will be shown with a mm rule adjacent to the shells to gage size. Most of the shells were photographed against an array of colorful beach towels, the most convenience backdrop at our disposal; a few are photographed in situ on the beaches or in the swamps. All were photographed with my little Canon point-and-shoot SX120 IS in macro mode with soft flash. Many images which were made outdoors on cloudy days or indoors have needed a little brightening and color balancing before being uploaded.

The sequence of uploads may seem random with respect to species groups, locations, or dates, but there actually is a method to this: I have labeled all my (identified) images with the scientific name of the shell and arranged the collection of images in an album on iPhoto alphabetically by scientific name (genus-species). I’ll generally be going straight through that album to upload images to iNat. That means the observations will jump around the various locations on and near Sanibel where we collected and may be from collections made anywhere from Sept. 22 to Oct. 1. The dates of observations on iNat will reflect the actual collection dates, to the best of my remembrance. (I have the precise collection dates for virtually all the shells, but in some cases, due to vacation activities, I didn’t get around to photographing a batch of shells for a few days.)

I hope everyone will enjoy this array of molluscan bounty from Sanibel!

Posted by gcwarbler gcwarbler, October 24, 2015 02:09

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Apple Snail (Pomacea paludosa)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 2, 2015

Description

We saw a few batches of these apple snail eggs just above the water line on wetland plants at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The individual eggs were maybe 1/4" in diameter and whole bunch was about 1-1/2" long. In life, they had a slight pinkish tinge although that doesn't show in these overexposed images. I might assume these are the native Florida applesnail (P. paludosa) but one other non-native species might occur here (??).

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Mollusks

Photos / Sounds

What

Molluscs (Phylum Mollusca)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 22, 2015

Description

A rainy period has set in so it's time to get back to some uploads of our shelling visit to Sanibel Island in late September. To start off with, here are some typical beach scenes which set the stage (literally) for some great shelling. These images document our visits to the beach along West Gulf Drive on our first two evenings.

Two pics show typical shelling behavior by humans on Sanibel. You can walk along scanning the shoreline (getting back and neck aches, "sheller's neck") or you can just plop down on your butt to sort through a good pile. Note the shell density in the high tide drift line.

Even in a simple array like this, dozens of species are encountered. In the full frame images of the shell drift, I have identified at least 12 spp. This array is dominated by species like ponderous and transverse ark and cross-barred venus. The last image shows the diversity of our collection from the first two visits.

Mollusks

Photos / Sounds

What

Molluscs (Phylum Mollusca)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

As I described in my journal entry, http://www.inaturalist.org/journal/gcwarbler/4713,
we had a special opportunity on Sept. 29 after an overnight storm with a very low tide in the early morning. We hiked up Bowman's Beach as the last of the rain showers were passing over. We arrived at a high energy area (strongest surf and currents) and had the best shelling of our entire visit.

None of the shell groups on the beach are staged; these are just random images of the mass of shells which had been thrown onto the beach by the "storm" waves (which weren't particularly rough). In each of the full frame images, I have identified from 18 to 25 different species of mollusks. You can see many Florida fighting conchs, many of which were still alive. Other large shells visible in these images include Southern surfclams, stiff penshells, calico scallops, Atlantic giant cockles, and many ark shells. A lettered olive can be seen in the first array, near the lower center of the image.

The last image shows some of the nicer shells my wife collected on this one visit to Bowman's Beach.

In subsequent uploads, I'll be documenting the entire array of mollusk species we encountered on this trip.

Legal Notice: No living mollusks were collected in these shelling efforts. Quite the contrary, we spent a lot of energy returning hundreds of stranded live conchs and whelks into the surf.

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Atlantic Abra (Abra aequalis)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

This is the alphabetic starter species for my mollusk collection from Sanibel. If anyone can double-check me on this (and all other IDs), it would be appreciated. This shell is small (9 mm) and very plain so I may have overlooked many of them.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Cuban Brown Snail (Zachrysia provisoria)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

A few of these were seen on the house and on yard plants, but they were not overly abundant.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Cut-Ribbed Ark (Anadara secticostata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

This large rectangular ark was less numerous than the abundant ponderous and transverse arks, but they were fairly regularly encountered on the beaches adjacent to West Gulf Drive and at Bowman's Beach.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Arks, Bittersweet Clams and Allies (Superfamily Arcoidea)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

Here was a comparison I set up for my own edification, comparing Cut-ribbed Ark (L) vs. Ponderous Ark (R).

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Photos / Sounds

What

Transverse Ark (Anadara transversa)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 22, 2015

Description

If I'm identifying these correctly, this was by far the most abundant small ark shell--the most abundant shell in fact--on most of the beaches we visited. Literally millions of them could be seen in the high tide drift lines at any beach. The process of shelling was often just scanning, sorting, and sifting through masses of these to look for other species. See, for example, this earlier upload of a typical beach scene:
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2277245
These typically ranged in size from 3/4" to 1" in length. I'm still working through our collection of ark shells here at home, hoping I might discover one or more additional ark species for our list.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Buttercup Lucine (Anodontia alba)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 24, 2015

Description

These were relatively uncommon among the masses of shells in the high tide drift, but we encountered a few each day.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Pointed Venus (Anomalocardia cuneimeris)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

These were very numerous at the water's edge on the Causeway Islands just off of Sanibel. I had identified these as "Pointed venus clams" in the Witherington guide but I'm not sure they are extended enough on the posterior end to be this species.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common Jingle (Anomia simplex)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

Here is an array of the (abundant) Common Jingle shells. Broken pieces were far more numerous than intact examples like these.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common Jingle (Anomia simplex)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 25, 2015

Description

Here is a large intact example from Lighthouse Beach.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Mossy Ark (Lamarcka imbricata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

We found just a couple of examples of this species. Fragments of the related Turkey wing were much more numerous.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Turkey Wing (Arca zebra)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

This large example of Turkey wing (a.k.a. Zebra ark) was the nicest one we found among about a half dozen intact examples. Fragments of these shells were fairly numerous.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Spiny Jewel Box (Arcinella cornuta)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

This is the nicest example of a Spiny jewel box that we encountered. Most were much more worn.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Spiny Jewel Box (Arcinella cornuta)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 22, 2015

Description

Here is a typical array of the Spiny Jewel Boxes found on the outer beach in the tidal drift. (The shell in the bottom center was mistakenly included; it is a double-decker kittenpaw.)

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Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Calico Scallop (Argopecten gibbus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

An array of Calico scallops, very typical of many beaches.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Calico Scallop (Argopecten gibbus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

We saw several of this particular color pattern of Calico scallop. It is certainly one of the prettiest bivalves on the beach.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Stiff Pen Shell (Atrina rigida)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

Stiff pen shells were by far the most abundant large bivalve on the outer beaches. Thousands of them, mainly broken into pieces, were evident...even providing a minor hazard for bare feet at times. Most were seen in the higher high tide drift piles, presumably having been tossed there by the more violent storms. This example was about 10" long, most were in that size range and even a bit larger at times.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Half-naked Pen Shell (Atrina seminuda)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

This was one of the nicest examples of Half-naked pen shell that I found, nearly intact. (I'm not sure it made it home in this condition.)

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Photos / Sounds

What

Spiny Slippersnail (Bostrycapulus aculeatus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

This one is from Bowman's Beach on Sanibel.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Scorched Mussel (Brachidontes exustus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Not common in the outer beach drift.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common West Indian Bubble (Bulla occidentalis)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 24, 2015

Description

Here is a series of striate bubbles from West Gulf Drive.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Lightning Whelk (Sinistrofulgur sinistrum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 25, 2015

Description

Broken pieces of lightning whelks were numerous on the beaches; intact examples less so. These are from Lighthouse Beach.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Lightning Whelk (Sinistrofulgur sinistrum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

After the stormy weather, whelks were much more numerous on Bowman's Beach, including a few dozen live examples that were thrown back into the surf. Here is a fairly fresh (empty) shell from that visit; notice the young barnacles beginning to colonize the shell.

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Photos / Sounds

What

True Whelks (Family Buccinidae)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

Based on its grayish color and its location on the Causeway Island, I suspect this is a recent fossil example of Channeled whelk rather than a modern shell.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Pear Whelk (Fulguropsis spirata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

I believe this is a young example of pear whelk (35 mm, less than 1.5"). We found no other examples of this species during our visit.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common Nutmeg (Cancellaria reticulata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

This worn shell is the only intact example we found of this "Common Nutmeg"; coll. by Mary Kay Sexton.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Broad-ribbed Cardita (Cardites floridanus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 22, 2015

Description

It was really nice to see many hundreds of this attractive little bivalve...perhaps just a nice visual diversion in the masses of faded ark shells along the beach. This is a sample of those we picked up on our first day.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Fly Speck Cerith (Cerithium muscarum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 25, 2015

Description

After some practice, we were able to pick out the Fly-specked Ceriths from the Dark (Florida) Ceriths. These were from Lighthouse Beach.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Dark Cerith (Cerithium atratum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

I'm not sure if this is a cerith (Cerithium) or false cerith (Batillaria minima). I think it's too big to be the latter.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Fly Speck Cerith (Cerithium muscarum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

Here's another set of cerith-like snails of which I'm not sure of the identity. They might be ceriths, false ceriths, or--since they came from the Causeway Islands--some recent fossil of yet something else.

I also have a hunch that the upper two are different from the lower two, in which case I can split this observation if needed.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Corrugate Jewelbox (Chama congregata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

We saw just a few of these small, rumpled, jewelbox-looking bivalves. They don't seem to be spiny jewelboxes and I'm wondering (hoping) if these could be the "Corrugated jewelbox" (Chama congregata). That's something of a WAG.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Cross-barred Venus (Chione elevata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

Despite their commonness, the variation in patterns on these clams was endlessly fascinating. These were abundant on all beaches we visited, sometimes rivaling the arks in abundance. See, http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2277245

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Photos / Sounds

What

Alphabet Cone (Conus spurius)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

One of the nicest finds of the trip, found by Mary Kay Sexton at Blind Pass.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Typical Slippersnails (Genus Crepidula)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 22, 2015

Description

We saw several of these flattened slippersnails but they were easily overlooked amid the masses of white bivalves on the beach.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common Atlantic Slippersnail (Crepidula fornicata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 22, 2015

Description

This species was very numerous in the tidal drift piles on all beaches.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Spotted Slippersnail (Crepidula maculosa)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

In contrast to the common slippersnail, we saw only two examples of the spotted species; here is the best of the two.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Angelwing (Cyrtopleura costata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

We frequently saw fragments of this fragile species but this was the only example of a nearly intact angel wing we encountered, here from Blind Pass. Coll. by Mary Kay Sexton.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Giant Atlantic Cockle (Dinocardium robustum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

Relatively few intact examples of this species were seen on most days (perhaps because the morning shellers picked most of them up), but after the storm on Sept. 27, they were very numerous on Bowman's Beach.

Photos / Sounds

What

Cayenne Keyhole Limpet (Diodora cayenensis)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

I think this is a modern example of Cayenne Keyhole Limpet, but then so many shells on the Causeway Islands near Sanibel are suspected of being fossils!

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Coquina (Donax variabilis)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

Although super-abundant on the beach and in the surfline, we never got tired of the variety of patterns in the coquina shells.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Elegant Dosinia (Dosinia concentrica)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

This is one example that I thought might be Elegant dosinia. The yellow tints are due to being photographed in the late evening.

(I'm frustrated by my various references which invariably use relative terms like "thinner", "more compressed", or "more concentric ribs" when distinguishing this species from Dosinia discus. I need more detailed guidance!)

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Photos / Sounds

What

Rose-petal Tellin (Eurytellina lineata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

We found only one broken example of this beautiful shell species, on Bowman's Beach. Coll. by Mary Kay Sexton.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Banded Tulip (Cinctura hunteria)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Collected at Blind Pass and photographed under softer (cloudy) daylight.

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Photos / Sounds

What

True Tulip (Fasciolaria tulipa)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

Found on Bowman's Beach after overnight storms, this is the largest fragment of a True Tulip that we saw the entire trip. I include it just for completeness of our trip list.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Atlantic Fig Snail (Ficus papyratia)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Certainly the most graceful of shells found on the beaches, this example is from Blind Pass on Sanibel.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common Egg Cockle (Laevicardium serratum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

There were just a few intact examples of common egg cockle, although fragments were seen here and there.

The rightmost, smaller, example here is more circular and I'm wondering if it is a different species (L. mortoni or ??).

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Photos / Sounds

What

Calico Clam (Megapitaria maculata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

There were many nice examples of Calico clams on Bowman's Beach after the storms on Sept. 27.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Sunray Venus Clam (Macrocallista nimbosa)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

This was the nicest of three storm-tossed examples of Sunray Venus clams that we encountered. This one measures 10 cm in length (4 in.). The largest we saw was a very worn example 13 cm (5+ in.).

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Photos / Sounds

What

Coffee Melampus (Melampus coffea)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

These were abundant on the trunks of red mangroves and other logs and trees at low tide at J.R. Ding Darling NWR. The set here was photographed along the Calusa Shell Mound Trail where I could lean in and get close enough for photography.

The spire on the first shell looks a bit taller than the others and I'm wondering if Eastern Melampus (M. bidentatus) might occur with these Coffee Melampus in the same habitat.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Quahog (Mercenaria campechiensis)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

A bit more numerous (common) on the higher energy areas of the outer beaches.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Button Snail (Modulus modulus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

Here is our second buttonsnail, broken almost exactly the same as our first example, missing the spire.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Shark Eye (Neverita duplicata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

We never encountered an intact large example of Shark's eye despite finding many fragments and damaged shells on the outer beaches.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

I'm uploading this small snail a little out of sequence just to get it "out there" for discussion. I found this while examing a sample of beach sand under a hand lens. Note in the last image the size of adjacent sand grains. Based on my calculations off of the mm rule, this snail is about 1.6 mm total length. It is translucent white, has about 5 whorls, and appears to be a mature example. The aperture is oval and perhaps slightly flattened laterally. I can see no umbilicus or siphonal canal. These are the best images I can offer with the limits of my point-and-shoot macro capabilities.

As I wandered through my references and online sites, I kept coming back to some of the tiny snails in the Pyramidellidae, perhaps something in the genus Odostomia. I'm not sure it can be identified for certain but I'll be interested in opinions.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Lettered Olive (Oliva sayana)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 25, 2015

Description

Two nice examples from Lighthouse Beach Park.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Lettered Olive (Oliva sayana)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Spanning the length of the island, these examples were found near Blind Pass.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Rough Scallop (Lindapecten muscosus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Found at Blind Pass. At first, I thought the narrow fan shape of this shell might indicated Rough scallop but after further study* I'm quite confused on scallop IDs!

(* This is a set-up for my favorite Mark Twain quote, "Researchers have already cast much darkness on the subject, and if they continue their investigations, we shall soon known nothing at all about it.")

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Photos / Sounds

What

Variable Wormsnail (Petaloconchus varians)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Here's a whole condominium project of wormsnails. I find the complexity of such congregations borderline artsy!

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Photos / Sounds

What

Apple Murex (Phyllonotus pomum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

This was the nicest example of an Apple murex we found on the beaches, this one found by my wife Mary Kay at Blind Pass.

iNat and BMSM both use Chicoreus for the genus where some of my other refs have it as Phyllonotus. I'm not losing sleep over the issue.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Apple Murex (Phyllonotus pomum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

The best intact sample of Apple murex I could find on my own was this barnacle pock-marked specimen from Bowman's Beach.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Common Atlantic Marginella (Prunum apicinum)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

These marginella's appear identical to the modern P. apicinum, but I'm now recognizing that these might be fossils since they are from the Causeway Islands. (The upper left shell seems to have some gloss.)

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Photos / Sounds

What

Lady-in-waiting Venus (Chionopsis intapurpurea)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

We found only one or two of these attractive clams. We may have overlooked them among the somewhat more numerous calico clams. The third and fourth images shows a direct comparison of the two, L-I-W on left, Calico on right.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Channeled Duck Clam (Raeta plicatella)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

It was always a challenge and a treat to find intact examples of this species...and to keep them that way. This first example has a minor chip at the umbo.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Channeled Duck Clam (Raeta plicatella)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

This example from Blind Pass on Sanibel is almost intact.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Scotch Bonnet Snail (Semicassis granulata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

This intact Scotch bonnet was one of my prize finds on our last day on the beach. We saw many fragments of this species but this was one of only two intact examples we encountered.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Surfclam (Spisula raveneli)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

This species was much more numerous in the upper end of the island such as at Bowman's Beach and, here, at Blind Pass, where the species was abundant in tidal drift.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

This was a common species on the outer beaches, or at least fragments and broken shells were. The storm of Sept. 26-27 threw countless hundreds of fresh examples onto Bowman's Beach, both living and dead.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Florida Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

Here a live conch struggles to extricate itself from the mass of shell debris tossed onto the beach from an overnight storm. After having its picture taken, it was transported to the surf, about 3 m away. See this observation for more on the event:
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2278355

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Photos / Sounds

What

Purplish Tagelus (Tagelus divisus)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

This very fragile purplish tagelus was another prized find (by Mary Kay) on the beach, the only one we encountered.

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Photos / Sounds

What

Alternate Tellin (Eurytellina alternata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Another fragile species of which we found only a very few intact examples, even though fragments were common on the beach.

(iNat still (also) has the "Tellina" species in the database, but both BMSM and my Texas encyclopedia refer to this as "Eurytellina" now.)

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Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Auger (Neoterebra dislocata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Augers with an intact aperture were uncommon--this one shows the common pattern of breakage--and I suspect foraging birds are to "blame" for the damage. I have observed such species as Willets, Yellowlegs, and other shorebird species picking away at such shells.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Yellow Prickly Cockle (Dallocardia muricata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 23, 2015

Description

Much less common on the outer beaches than Florida prickly cockle, perhaps less than one in 50 was this species.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Comb Bittersweet (Tucetona pectinata)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 27, 2015

Description

I believe we only found a couple of these distinctive little bivalves, this one on Bowman's Beach after a night of storms.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Chestnut Turban (Turbo castanea)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

We found just these two ~intact examples of chestnut turbans on our last visit to Bowman's Beach. Broken pieces were somewhat more numerous.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Boring Turretsnail (Turritella acropora)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

This boring turret appears (to me) to be a modern shell and not a fossil, although it was collected on Causeway Island.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

September 29, 2015

Description

I believe at least some of these examples are modern examples of the Fargo wormsnail. This set was collected on Causeway Island.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

American Carrier Shell (Xenophora conchyliophora)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

October 1, 2015

Description

Last but certainly not least among all our identified mollusks was this American carrier shell that Mary Kay found on our last day at the beach. The shell (without attachments) is about 1 in. across (26 mm).

Tags

Comments

Hey Chuck, I was delighted to see all these shell observations starting to appear. Thank you. I will be going to Sanibel in December for 2 weeks (our 5th annual visit) so this is like a preview for me.

Some of the shells I found last year (and a few from previous years) that were new to José Leal's database for SW Florida are already up on the BMSM website.

Posted by susanhewitt about 7 years ago (Flag)

It looks like you had a great time! I've been wanting to go shelling. Maybe I'll get to next year.

Posted by cosmiccat about 7 years ago (Flag)

Chuck, I wanted to say that if you ended up with any material that is in OK condition, but that you could not identify, like some of the little bivalves, I can probably ID those for you.

Posted by susanhewitt almost 6 years ago (Flag)

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