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Frog Seashells

Updated on April 26, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen and her family have enjoyed collecting many things, including fans, clocks, books and shells.

A Type of Winged Frog Shell
A Type of Winged Frog Shell | Source
The Winged Frog Shell (top)
The Winged Frog Shell (top) | Source

Family Bursidae

Shells of the Family Bursidae are commonly known as Frog Shells. I had always thought that this was because of the frog-like 'mouth' on the left part of the shell in the top photograph. To me, it really does look like a frog's mouth. However, I have since discovered that they are really so named because of the knobbly structure of the shell of most of the species of this family. The shell is supposed to look like the warty skin of some frogs and not all Frog Shells have that froggy 'mouth.'

Authorities vary greatly in the number of species in the Family Bursidae; I have read some books on seashells that limit Frog Shells to thirty species while others claim that there are over ninety.

One thing is certain, these shells are unusual and very popular with shell collectors. Incidentally, probably all conchologists are shell collectors, but not all shell collectors are conchologists. Conchologists are marine biologists and zoologists who specialize in studying mollusks. That is different from people like me who enjoy collecting them and delight in the wonderful colours, shapes and variety of this facet of God's wonderful creation.

A Type of Gyrate Sea Shell
A Type of Gyrate Sea Shell | Source
The Upper Side of the Gyrate Frog Shell
The Upper Side of the Gyrate Frog Shell | Source

Some Interesting Facts about Frog Seashells

Collectors of Frog Shells and mollusks in general may be interested in the following facts.

  • Size: Mature Frog Shell mollusks vary in size from half an inch to ten inches, according to their species and they vary considerably in their appearance, as well. Like members of the Triton family to whom they are closely related, the females are larger than the males.
  • Habitat: Frog Shells are most commonly found in the warmer temperate and tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, the largest and richest shell region in the world, extending from the shores of East Africa to Polynesia. Frog Shells are mostly shallow water dwellers and live among rocks and coral in both inter-tidal and off-shore waters. Shallow water species have rounded, knob-like ridges. However, some species live in deep water and the ridges on these shells are usually sharp and blade-like.
  • Diet: Frog Shells are carnivorous and feed on marine worms, and other shells including both mollusks and bivalves.
  • Reproduction: Like most mollusks, they lay eggs that are sometimes produced in long strands and these are attached to rocks and coral.
  • Camouflage: The larger Frog Shells camouflage themselves with a heavy calceous covering to provide protection from other marine predators.

The Shell Pictured Below

The shell pictured below has the knobbly shell and the frog-like 'mouth', but I have been unable to find it in any of the literature. I have seen some pretty orange mollusks in the Philippines, so I may have collected it there.

The shell below is about 1½ inches long and very attractive. If you happen to know its family and species, please let me know. I would be very grateful.

A Final Fact

The Giant Frog Shell (bursa bubo) sometimes grows up to ten inches, is found in both the Indian and Pacific Ocean areas and is moderately common near coral reefs. It was once used for oil lamps.

What is This?
What is This? | Source
The Upper Side of What is This?
The Upper Side of What is This? | Source


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    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      sgbrown: Glad you enjoyed the information. It is such fun collecting sea shells and I really enjoy the great variety of patterns and shapes. I hope you have a beautiful day, too.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I have several of these shells, but didn't know what they were called. This is great information. I have only been to the ocean a few times, but I love collecting sea shells. They are all so beautiful in their own way. Voting this up and interesting. Have a beautiful day! :)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Frank Atanacio: thank you for your great comments.

      Annie Miller: I've never counted how many Families there are, and then there are all the species which are interesting varieties. That's what makes them so interesting.

      SidKemp: I'm glad you find them fascinating, too.

      pstraubie48: God's creations are so diverse and interesting. I love the colours and designs, too.

      AliciaC: It's a pleasure to share. Thank you.

      Nellieanna: The wide open spaces have their own special charm, too. Fossils can be fascinating. Just ask my Grandson! So are minerals and I just love the different shapes of crystals. It is all so wonderful as you say.

      shiningirisheyes: It is fun collecting and lovely to share the interest. Sometimes I think I should have been born a bower-bird!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      My Mom and I have collected many seashells, starting way back in my early childhood. Great article with many levels of interest for me.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Yes, you have been lucky to be near the seashore. I write poems about it from my imagination. Have you read Anne Morrow Lindberg's "Gift From The Sea"? You probably have. In it each chapter is as she picks up various shells and sees in them an application to her life or life in general. It's a lovely book I found many years ago when it was published in about 1955.

      Thinking about being lucky to be where one is, I am lucky to have had and still have access to vastness which, literally, an ancient shallow sea once covered, and left the fossils and reminders of all its sea life, now semi-desert.

      I also loved living awhile in Arizona where natural minerals and crystals abound. In a sense, shells are like lovely crystals created by living entities, rather than Earth's pressure on her elements as in what we think of as crystals, - aren't they? The flora and fauna - as well as the artifacts - of all Earth's regions are also fascinating gifts, if one embraces them. It's all so wonderful!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The shells are beautiful, Blossom. Thank you for sharing the lovely photos and the very interesting information.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Interesting information about the frog shell. It would be awesome to find just one...the colors are amazing.

      My best shelling has been early morning and then I have found some great shells. Never one of these though.

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      Sending Angels your way :) ps

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Such beautiful form and color. Thank you. Voted up and beautiful!

    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Love the photos, Blossom. I never knew they were anything other than conch shells - this is very interesting and informative.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      educational and cool I love this hub up and awesome!!!!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Lastheart: Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed reading.

      WillStarr: Thank you. Yes, people seem to take over and it's sad when there's not much left. When we were kids, our Mother always insisted that if we were collecting anything in the wild, especially wildflowers, we were only to take one, so there would be plenty left. It was a good philosophy.

      Nellieanna: Shells are so magical. In my case, because I've usually lived near a seashore, I prefer to find them myself, rather than buy them. But I've been lucky, I guess.

      Mhatter99: Yes, so much flotsam and jetsam and lovely shells, too, get washed up after a storm. It's good for blowing away the cobwebs, as well.

      Faith Reaper: Thank you for your comments. No, I'm trying to do eight hubs a month and get busy so don't do two a week and then there's a rush to finish before the end of the month! I still have one to go, but I might have to wait until tomorrow. Sundays are busy with church things. Bless you.

      kidscrafts: They are beautiful, and so varied. Thank you for visiting.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Very interesting Blossom! Shells are so beautiful! From one country to the next, it's interesting to sea what is on the beaches because it's different from one place to the other!

      I love your beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, Blossom, these shells are like a piece of art, for they are so beautiful. I have never heard of these.

      Thanks for sharing the lovely photos and interesting hub here!

      Wow, you have been publishing up a storm. Are you in a 30 day challenge?

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Interesting. Thank you for this. The best time to go shell hunting here is low tide after a storm

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      What an interesting hub! Seems I've always had shells in my life, though I've never lived near the sea, nor even visited it much. I've never had the experience of walking on a beach picking up shells! I've walked in the desert picking up all sorts of rocks but never shell, other than from some ancient sea, frozen in stone and in time.

      But there's just something so magical about them. These you've illustrated are especially beautiful and your background for them is most helpful!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Superb Hub! I remember walking the Florida beaches when not too many people lived there, and they were covered in shells. Not anymore!

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Very interesting. I love shells and I like the way you presented this information. Thanks!