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Identifying Seashells from a Beachcombing Collection

Updated on November 1, 2016
Seashells from the Seashore
Seashells from the Seashore | Source

Where (or What) Do These Shells Come From?

As I sit here in my home in the high desert, I can still close my eyes and smell the ocean, even though the closest body of salt water is 350 miles away, across the border in Mexico. Growing up just a mile from the Atlantic Ocean and spending so much of my young life playing in the sand, in the tidal pools and mud flats, and swimming in the sea, that smell and that connection with the ocean never goes away. Neither does my love of beachcombing.

Right here on my desk sits one of several jars of keepsakes from the beaches of my home state of Rhode Island, some from the dozens of times I went beachcombing in Florida, and others from random beaches around the world. And I still come back to Arizona with shells and rocks and other seaside finds to add to my collection each time I visit the coast.

But my love of the ocean and the treasures it deposits on the beach doesn't mean I'm an expert on what I collect. So, I thought it would be fun to learn more about some of these shells in the jar on my desk and to invite you along on my little journey of discovery, as I try to match what I have here with identification information online.

Image Credits: Unless otherwise noted, the photos on this page were taken by me, Deb Kingsbury.

The beachcombing collection on my desk
The beachcombing collection on my desk

Ways to Help Identify Seashells - Things to look at when trying to narrow down the matches

I've collected treasures from many different beaches, but I never put any effort into identifying those shells until now. I just thought they were "really neat" ... and still do! But I've learned there are several things I can do to narrow down the type of shell, rather than just looking through tons of photos to try to find a match.

The first item on this list I would have -- should have -- done at the time I collected the shells, especially the really unusual ones, had I realized how helpful that would be to me now.....

  1. I would have written down where the beach was located (ie. southern Rhode Island on Narragansett Bay; eastern coast of south Florida on an inlet, on the shore of the Red Sea, etc.) along with a description of the type of beach it was, such as rocky, soft white sand, pebbly and so forth. It's also recommended that you write down a description of any vegetation growing in the water near the shore. These details can be very helpful when using shell identification guides.

  2. Decide whether you have a bivalve or a gastropod. That right there will help you narrow your search.

    Bivalves -- as the name implies -- have two parts. Or at least they did before they may have come apart in the ocean or when washed ashore. The two halves of the shell are held together with a "hinge," and the halves are generally round or round-ISH.

    Gastropods on the other hand are cone-shaped or coiled, like periwinkles for example. I used to play with little hermit crabs when I was a kid, and I know those always took up residence in gastropod shells.

  3. Make note of the specific characteristics of the shell, including the shape -- is it conical or fan-shaped or spiral or snail-shaped or wing-shaped or ... what have you?

    Also examine the colors and patterns, with possible patterns being speckles or stripes or zigzags or rows of dots, and so forth. It's helpful to wet the shell, so its colors really stand out.

    And texture is another important characteristic -- does the shell have bumps, ribs, spikes, or any other kind of "relief" that can help you identify it?

  4. Measuring the length and width of a shell can also be helpful, especially in eliminating options when hunting for a match to identify it. Some kinds or species have minimum or maximum sizes, so if your shell is larger than the maximum for a species, you'll know that, nope, this shell isn't that one. Same on the other end of the spectrum.

  5. If you can first figure out what "family" your shell is in, then it's easier to narrow it down from there. I'm learning this AFTER the fact, having tried to identify all of the following shells without first trying to find the family. Oops.

    Here's a Seashell Family Identification Page you can try.

A name in guidebooks I know well....

I have several other National Audubon Society field guides, including one on birds and another on animal tracks, all of which I've liked and used a lot. So I'm assuming the quality is equally as good with this seashell guide, which is very highly rated (except for two people who didn't like the arrangement or the paper quality).

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashells
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashells

This guide includes 705 shells, living mollusks, periwinkles, conchs, abalone, limpets, clams, oysters, cockles, and mussels from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts of North America and the West Indies. The photos are arranged by shape and color to make it easier to find a match.

 

Please Help Me Identify These Shells

If you're a shell connoisseur or just happen to know more about any of these shells than I do, please fill me (and others) in, in the guestbook below.

I've numbered the shells for easy reference. If you have a URL related to the shell or shell identification and can provide some good info, leave that in your comment, and I'll include it in the resources or under the specific shell. Thanks!

One thing I've learned so far....

Shell identification isn't easy!

1.) A Common Bivalve on the Atlantic Coast - Like a delicate little folding fan

Even without searching, I'm pretty sure this is a type of scallop. Following the guidelines above, I've noted that this shell has the following characteristics...

  • Shape: Uniform fan shape
  • Colors: Predominantly white with pale bands of light brown, blue-ish gray and a creamy color. (The colors are much more distinct when I wet the shell than when it's dry, like you see above.)
  • Texture: Ribbed with a flat "fan handle"
  • Size: 2.5 inches at its widest and same at its longest

Attempting to narrow down the type of scallop shell this is, I looked at "Shells of Aquarius" and their page on Scallop Shells from Around the World, but I don't see anything there that's the right size AND the right shape and colors all in one. So I Googled "Atlantic coast scallop shells" and found a few photos and descriptions of the Atlantic Bay Scallop, which can grow up to about 3 inches and can be the color of mine. They usually have 17 to 20 ribs. Mine has 17. So that's my best guess for this shell.

Did you know?

You can tell how old a scallop is (or was, I suppose) by counting the number of rings on the shell, just like you'd count rings on a tree stump.

2.) Another Common Seashore Find - These look like little slippers to me....

Just by typing "slipper shaped shell" into Google search, I found plenty of matches, including this page on the Common Atlantic Slipper Shell or slipper limpet, which is also called a "boat" or "quarterdeck" shell. I've seen these described as toe-nailed shaped, too.

Hey, that one wasn't too hard to pin down.

I have lots of these slipper shells in a range of sizes. In fact, there are always SO many to choose from on the beaches I usually visit when I go back to the Atlantic coast, I can just sit in one spot by the water, happily sift through them all (so relaxing), and pick out a couple that "speak to me" for whatever reason. I often find slipper shells stuck to each other, with a little one piggy-backing on a larger one.

Speaking of slipper limpet piggy-backing....

Did you know?

When you find a pile of slipper limpets with snails inside, the smaller ones on the top are the boys, the ones on the bottom are are the girls, and the middle snails are in the process of changing sex. Wow, interesting! (I think so anyway.)

I learned that and a lot more on the Encyclopedia of Life Crepidula fornicata (or common slipper shell) page.

3.) A Unique Gastropod - This greenish shell with a mottled pattern looks like snakeskin to me....

So, okay, other than the fact that this is a gastropod, how else can I describe this one?

  • Shape: It's spiral with a round opening. You might also say it's snail shaped or shaped like a turban.
  • Color, pattern, texture: It's got greenish-brown and pale yellow bands lengthwise from tip to the base, with small raised bands around it.
  • Size: The shell measures 1-3/4 inch at its longest and about the same at its widest point.

I perused lots of photos and did a bunch of searches, and lo and behold, what finally landed me on a page at Seashell World with very similar shells was the word "turban" -- and these shells actually have that word in their name. In particular, the Goldmouth Turban and the Silvermouth Turban shells look a lot like mine. But they're not found in the Atlantic off the coast of the U.S. They're common in Indo-Pacific waters.

Hm....I may have picked this one up when I visited Israel nearly three decades ago, on the coast of the Red Sea.

Turbo Marmoratus Madagascar
Turbo Marmoratus Madagascar | Source

Did you know?

The largest turban shell of them all is the green turban (Turbo marmoratus), which can grow to 8 inches and is found in the East Indies and Australia.

This is a photo of a large polished Green Turban shell collected in Madagascar.

4.) Another Challenging Shell to Identify - Having a hard time finding this one....

  • Length: 2-1/4 inches
  • Color: Light orangy-brown with white
  • Pattern: Lengthwise bands on the main "body" of the shell, tip to tip
  • Texture: Raised horizontal bands with spiny ridges; corrogated "flanks" down the sides.
  • Shape: Like an oval with pointed ends. The opening is eye-shaped with a "spout" at the back end.

Sure would be easier to search if I knew where I'd found this shell. From some hunting around, I thought maybe this was a Nutmeg shell, which comes in a wide variety of colors, textures and sizes, but no matter how many different types I look at, none of them have the "flanks" along the sides like mine does.

So I looked through the Gastropod identification guide from Seashells.org and noticed similarities between the "Bursidae" or Frog shell on page 7 and my shell. The only thing that looked a bit different were the "lips" around the opening.

A Google search for "frog shells Bursidae" brought me to the Bursidae page at IndoPacificShells.com, where I see some that are very much like my shell, especially the Bufonaria rana.

Searching further for that specific shell, I see that the last one on this Gastropods.com page looks nearly identical to mine. So, I believe I have a Common Frog Shell, which may have come from a small collection of shells my dad gave me, which he had from back when he was in the Navy in WWII and traveled to the area of the Indo-Pacific where these shells are found.

Did you know?

The common name "Frog shell" comes from the resemblance to the texture of a frog's warty skin.

5.) A Spiny Mollusk with a Long Tail - One of my favorite little gastropods

I'm pretty sure this lucky find came from a Florida beach. I can imagine its little inhabitant proudly dragging its lovely "armor" along the sand at the bottom of the ocean.

In my seashell travels online, I happened upon photos of the Cabrits Murex on the "I Love Shelling" blog, with its spines and long tail, and thought I might have something similar. That one is a lot whiter than mine, which has the brownish bands, but the Vokesimurex cabritii pictured on the Baily-Matthews Shell Museum site does have more brown, and the description says that some shells of this type do have darker bands.

Did you know?

This shell was named after a 19th century shell collector. That tidbit came from Patricia Mitchell's Cabrit's Murex: Pale and Pretty page. There's also an interesting article called "Frills, Lace and Spines" in which author Kathleen Hoover says there are 100 genera and more than 700 species of murex in the world. So if I haven't pinpointed mine exactly, I don't feel so bad.

See beautiful photos of tropical murex shells of all sorts of wonderful colors, patterns, shapes and sizes on Shells-of-Aquarius.com.

6.) A Tulip Shell? - At first, I thought so....

Here's a photo of a Banded Tulip Shell. My shell isn't banded other than on the top, pointed portion, but the shape is very similar. Mine, however, is more rounded at the back end. And looking at other photos of what are called "true tulip shells" or Fasciolaria tulipa, those too have the elongated "tails."

So back to the drawing board.

Do I have a Melampus here? The maximum shell length of an Eastern Melampus is 20mm (or just over 3/4 of an inch), but mine measures 2-1/3 inches in length, so that's not it.

The opening on my shell is elongated, like with these cone shells, but mine is a blunter, rounder shell and doesn't have the horizontal bands.

*sigh* Keep searching...

So, then I Google "smooth light brown gastropod Atlantic" and land back on the very handy Gastropod PDF from the Shell Museum, which has a lot of helpful drawings. I scrolled through and saw a "Melongenidae" that had a very similar shape and smooth texture to my shell. Did another search and found this: See the Volema paradisiaca on the top. Very similar, wouldn't you say? But a Pear Melongena, which can measure between 1.7 and a little over 2 inches -- so just a bit smaller on the upper end than my shell -- is found in SE Africa to Singapore, which aren't places I've been.

But, ooh, I see an almost exact match of my shell in the photo of a mix of Philippine shells (scroll down and you'll see it -- 5th photo) on Shells-of-Aquarius.com. The shells in this mix are from from the Indo-Pacific region, ranging from the Indian Ocean to the southern shores of Japan and northern Australian/New Zealand. This area does include the Red Sea, and I've been there (which is where I probably found that Turban shell above).

More Googling and....

dog conch shell
dog conch shell | Source

Oo! I found it!

It's a Stromus canarium or a "dog conch"!

There's an article on Wikipedia about the dog conch, and I'm almost positive that's what I've got sitting in front of me.

The photo you see here looks exactly like mine.

7.) An Oyster, Me Thinks

Given the irregular shape, "oyster" was my guess; although, this one is smoother than I'd expect most oyster shells to be. Most of the images I'm seeing of oyster shells show them as being rather coarse on the outside. But perhaps this one has been "weathered" from washing ashore?

What do you think? Is this a Common Atlantic Oyster similar to the one in my photo above? This shell is said to often have a purple margin and muscle scar on the inner surface, and mine does have both of those characteristics.

This type of oyster is also known as the Eastern Oyster or Crassostrea virginica, which generally has a thick, flattened shell that can be from dirty white to gray with a bright white interior. The description says the muscle scar can be deep purple or red-brown. The one in my shell is reddish-brown but sort of faded.

These oysters can grow to be about 4 inches long in two years and live to be 20 years old. So I'm guessing I have a very young one. My shell is just 1.5 inches long.

8.) Several of my Many Minnie Mollusks - I can hold dozens of these in the palm of my hand....

One of my favorite pastimes when I visit the beach is to sit where there are lots of shells, even lay down, and pick through the tiniest of shells, practically with my nose to the ground. I love gathering up a handful of the smallest of them with their minute detail.

That's how I ended up with the four shells pictured above, which are a lot smaller than what you see on the screen. I'm much more into just enjoying them than I am trying to figure out exactly what kind of shells they are -- gastropods, that much I know -- but I'm assuming there's probably three or four specific types in that one photo.

What I'm fairly certain of, though, is that they're from the Nassariidea family of shells.

Just don't ask me how I got there. I've been looking through shells for so long now, I don't even remember all the pages I've clicked through.

9.) A Big Gastropod from a Florida Beach - I began with a guess: "conch" shell....

This is one the largest shells I have, measuring 5 inches long and 4 inches at its widest. I found it while walking the beach at Key Biscayne, Florida, with my dad when I was a child.

I've been searching Google images for Florida conch shell, trying to find a match with the big spike and crinkled appearance of the ridge on top, but I'm not having much luck. I looked at the Queen Conch, which does have the spike, but the NOAA site says the shell is usually orange, and mine is very white.

Did you know?

Conch sells increase in size at a rate of 3 inches per year, and they live, on average, 6 to 10 years. I learned that by going through rzsparrow's Slideshare presentation on Conch Shells.

On the other hand....

....my shell does look very similar to this photo of a Giant Murex.

Conch shells usually have pink and orange "lips," but, turning my shell over, you can see that it has just a faint pink tinge on the edge of the opening. It's also not got a prominent lobe or those so-called lips like the conch shells seem to have, especially the mature conchs.

So I'm voting for murex. Specifically which kind, I haven't figured out yet.

10.) And What's This Crazy-Looking Shell? - Looks like a little monster to me....

So, "bivalve" is the easy part. I wish I knew for sure where I found this one. And are the spikes part of the shell or from something that attached to or grew on the shell, like barnacles?

Let's try a Google search for what I know.....

  • Shape: Roundish, clam-shaped
  • Color: Reddish-orange
  • Texture: Thorny
  • Size: 3 inches across, not including the spines

Thorny Oyster shell
Thorny Oyster shell | Source

Aha! Thorny was the ticket.

Look at this photo of a Thorny Oyster. Could be first cousins, couldn't they--my shell and that one? Except mine is thornier. But there appears to be quite a bit of variation in the spines, if you take a look at those Google image search results.

Apparently, these creatures from the Spondylus genus aren't "true" oysters, which makes sense given they're shaped like clams.

Here, you see a photo of a Spondylus princeps from the Sea of Cortez.. This one is a bit different in color than mine, but the "thorns" are similar. Apparently, these thorny oysters have a very wide variety of sizes, colors, and length and number of spines. They're also found in large range around the world.

A Seashell Identification Guide

Looks like I need one if I really want to learn to identify shells...

Seashells of North America: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guide f/St. Martin's Press)
Seashells of North America: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guide f/St. Martin's Press)

This is a very well-received book on shells I might find on the beaches I like to comb back east and on my occasional visits to the closer beaches on the west coast.

It would be fun to actually take an identification guide with me to the beach and try figuring some out as I sit there in the sand.

 

What I've Learned from this Seashell Identification Exericse

  1. Identifying shells is hard work.
  2. If you make notes about where you find a shell, that would really help in figuring out what you've got.
  3. Figuring out what "family" a shell is in isn't too too difficult if you have examples of each laid out for you to look through, but narrowing down the shell type from there gets even harder.
  4. I don't need to know the phylum, class, order, suborder, super family, family, genus or species of a shell to really enjoy them ... but it's fun to try to figure all that out once in a (long) while.

Another shell collection of mine, in a seashell

Another shell collection of mine, in a seashell
Another shell collection of mine, in a seashell

Rules on Recreational Seashell Collecting

Did you know there were rules? I honestly didn't, but it makes sense there would be.

See the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulations on the collection of shells as an example.

The most significant aspect of the rules to me is the fact that you must have a license to collect shells that have a living organism inside.

© 2013 Deb Kingsbury

Are You a Beachcomber, Too? - And what beaches do you comb? - If you know a little or a lot about seashells, please share something with us....

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    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 4 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Oh I love this! I've always been a seashell collector too, and never wrote anything down or cataloged them or anything. You've given such an inspiring description of how to identify these shells, it does make it even better to know more about the shells than just they look pretty!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 4 years ago from Scotland

      Having recently moved to near a beach, this was really interesting I now feel I could answer some of my nieces and nephews questions when we go beach combing!

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 4 years ago from Cyprus

      Wow a treasure of information here. I'm living on an island and I'm also crazy about shells. But so far what I've found was rather boring and bland looking. Love the ones showcased here.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      Very interesting and a real find for someone like me who loves to walk the beach and pick up shells. Love all of the info you've got here.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I enjoy beachcombing with the kids. My son is pretty good at finding unique little treasures: unusual sea glass, pottery pieces and nice sea shells. We have tons of "treasures" at home that need to be sorted.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 4 years ago from California

      All my years of living by the beach and I never heard the word "gastropod"...lol now I can't get it out of my head :) I like your identification tips....I too have a jar of shells, oh and one small smelly fish from the Salton Sea (it was dead when I found it ;) Anyway...I enjoyed this.

    • victoriuh profile image

      victoriuh 4 years ago

      I used to live with a family with a big murex shell they got in Florida and that was my thought on seeing number 9. Wonderful lens!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Great collection. I agree with victoriuh, No. 9 is a pink murex, and No. 5 looks like a snipe's bill murex. The first one is a scallop. Stonington, CT is known for it's scallops and it is just a hop, skip and a jump from Rhode Island, so you may have found it there.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 4 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      @LiteraryMind: Thanks! I looked at both suggestions. Looks like I got the "murex" part right on both. The pink murex shells I'm seeing so far have a lot more pink than mine, but maybe that's because mine isn't polished or maybe isn't as "mature"? And I'm still trying to decide about the Snipe's Bill ... the photos I'm seeing have some black in them and mine doesn't. And mine is spinier too. But I'll keep looking through some more. I'm sure there can be a lot of variation among the same kind of shell. Thanks for the tips!

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      I love collecting seashells too. Though I have not made an attempt to exactly identify each shell, I have a general idea about them. The large shell you have is a murex and not a conch, I think, as the latter has smoother shells. I have murex shells of different sizes; when young and small, they have a black or greenish black coloration on the outside, which fade as they grow.

    • RedShoesGirl profile image

      RedShoesGirl 4 years ago

      I love seashells. You have a wonderful collection. I never thought about identifying the ones that I own until now:)

    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

      We just have little broken shells out here in the Bay Area. Sea glass is always fun to find. Loved your lens.

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 4 years ago

      I love collecting shells too! A few years ago I identified the shells I have, but I am no expert. Just curious. Great lens!

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 4 years ago from California

      These shells are lovely and I have quite a lot from your research. Thanks for sharing your collection!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to collect sea shells, too. But now I just want them to remain where they are for others to enjoy as well.

    • hotsquid profile image

      hotsquid 4 years ago

      Love the color of Thorny Oyster shell. Quite a collection.

    • bluelily lm profile image

      bluelily lm 4 years ago

      I remember the childhood days when I visited Puri sea beach and saw many exotic sea shells on sale by local vendors, it were really captivating & I felt like exploring it closely.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      I loved collecting sea shells as a child - I am fascinated by their shape and color!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wonderful of you to share this widely useful info. Many of us go beach combing and love our finds but haven't taken the time to identify our treasures. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow, all kinds of the seashells are so beautiful now, thanks for your sharing your collection.

    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 4 years ago

      Yes I am, I pick ip shells and pebbles on every beach. And I found shark teeth! (3 already)

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 4 years ago from Kent, UK

      I'm very happy to know I'm not the only one who can't walk past a sea shell. I keep looking at my collection and wondering what to do with them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I do try to beachcomb whenever I can. Your lens is fascinating!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great Lens - I like the descriptions of the shells.. thanks for sharing

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      I am a beachcomber but for sea glass more than shells - it's my passion. Headed to the beach this week and can't wait!

    • profile image

      hmommers 4 years ago

      I don't take the shells from the beach, but I draw or photograph them. They're lovely.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      what a beautiful lens...really "imminent"...thx for sharing

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 4 years ago from Houston

      Great reading. I love how you wove the story, and I particularly enjoyed the invitation to help you identify your shells. Wish I could help. :) Congratulations on your Purple Star and on being featured in this week's Reel.

    • profile image

      motobidia 4 years ago

      I love southwest Florida's gulf coast! They say that Sanibel Island is the sea shell capital of the world, but I can tell you from experience that shelling is bountiful all over that general area - from Marco Island, through Naples, Bonita Beach, to Fort Myers Beach and beyond.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I haven't picked up a shell since moving to the city, where it's not permitted in the parks that border the beaches, or actually include the beaches and tide flats, but I used to enjoy it.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago

      I spend many an hour looking for shells on my local beach.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      I have been meaning to try to find the names and types of all the shells I've inherited from my Mom and Grandparents. There's just so much and I can't part with them. You've helped me id a couple.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Any beach I would pick up shells, undoubtedly! But mostly I visit the NC and SC beaches. However, my daughter lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida...Great lens! You did a great job of id'ing, as I've tried that, and given up! It's neat that you have them from all over the world, and it's priceless that some are from your dad, as he collected them, and that you have some you collected together. I love those times of looking for shells with family. I always want to take too many home! Congratulations on the imminent win! Excellent lens; I enjoyed reading it, and gaining a lot more knowledge than I had about shells. B : )

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Any beach I would pick up shells, undoubtedly! But mostly I visit the NC and SC beaches. However, my daughter lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida...Great lens! You did a great job of id'ing, as I've tried that, and given up! It's neat that you have them from all over the world, and it's priceless that some are from your dad, as he collected them, and that you have some you collected together. I love those times of looking for shells with family. I always want to take too many home! Congratulations on the imminent win! Excellent lens; I enjoyed reading it, and gaining a lot more knowledge than I had about shells. B : )

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 4 years ago from Central Florida

      This is a fantastic resource!! My five year old loves collecting shells, and we've gotten to pick up a few from a handful of beaches. My favorite place to collect seashells is Sanibel Island in Florida. The place we stayed there had a shell guide which was super helpful. Off to another beach on the Gulf coast this summer, so we'll use your resources to identify our treasures. Thanks so much for the links!

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 4 years ago

      this is a very educational and thoroughly researched lens! Great work!!

    • Ontoddy profile image

      Ontoddy 4 years ago

      Great photos of sea shells, we had a lovely morning last Saturday walking along the beach picking up interesting sea shells, we also saw a couple of starfish too.

    • chocochipchip profile image

      chocochipchip 4 years ago

      Beautiful shells!!!

    • sandrabill profile image

      sandrabill 4 years ago

      very creative lens! :) I will try to collect some of the sea shells and decorate it

    • bethann21 profile image

      bethann21 4 years ago

      Oh I just LOVE this! I used to walk the beaches in Oregon in a similar way. (Water too cold to swim really). Takes me back.

    • profile image

      topbuilderlist 4 years ago

      Very nice collection of sea shells.

    • lgOlson profile image

      L. Olson 4 years ago from Northern Arizona

      I also live in the high desert, and keep little sea shells around, probably reminding me of my roots in the PNW. Very informative and a good read.

    • profile image

      MensAffairscom 4 years ago

      Awesome collection of sea shells. Thank you for the short guide :)

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 4 years ago

      I just started to get interested in seashells from a craft point of view, as a Floridian. The seashells you've collected look like they're still a bit calcified. If you want to shine them up, check out this youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2J3GcX__88 It describes the muriatic acid solution that cleans them up in seconds. I had so much fun with it. Love the pics, thanks for the guide.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I'm a 'seashore' type person too, and have collected my share of shells over the years from Florida's Gulf Coast to the Central Coast of California to my current location just a few miles from Tybee Island on the Atlantic Coast of Georgia. Love your photos and this story of your collections.

    • street2linen profile image

      street2linen 4 years ago

      Do you do this for a hobby?

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      These seashells from the beach are so nice, I love collecting them when we get a chance to go to the harbor.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      I love combing the beach for shells, sea glass and other neat finds. With this cold spring, I wish I were at the beach right now!

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      I love seashells and your lens is awesome with all these beautiful seashells pics! Thanks~

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      This is such a wonderful lens. I put seashells in my rock garden, just one or two changes the whole look and vibe. And you have gone so much in depth. Pinned to my board "This I want you to know" and out by g+ with this comment: "It's definitely getting to be time for the ocean. From one of Squidoo's adventurers."

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      erfanstreet 4 years ago

      This information is so helpful for me, thanks to share

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 3 years ago

      I love the beach but never thought to identify the shells. An interesting thing I will do with the kids. Thanks!

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 3 years ago

      I can really relate because I live in Arizona, too, and it has been years since I have been to the beach. I have shells that were collected by relatives, and some I bought. Most I did not collect personally. It's entirely possible that a shell of a given shape is really the same species as another with very different coloring. People can have black, brown, or blond hair, or blue, green, or brown eyes, but we're all members of the same species. If a shell is in different waters, it may simply be responding to different minerals in the water, or different kinds of food. I always stick my tongue in my cheek and say that a species is a living thing discovered by a scientist who wants a name for himself. I also learned that because in the past many scientists were unable to communicate effectively, the same species got identified and described numerous times from different parts of the world. This was particularly obvious to me when I was doing research on seaweed and noticed two different kinds of seaweed that looked very different, but eventually one was discovered to be the juvenile form of the other. But because scientists don't live in the water, but on land, they even put them in different genera. This sort of turns the world upside down when it comes to classifying any organism. I also learned that animals and birds freely interbreed, so in many cases, only geographical isolation, changes in courting behavior (a learned skill) and other things can keep given birds breeding with birds with similar coloration so that eventually the original genetic diversification is gone, and they become a "breed" just like a breed of dog. So much to think about! I really enjoyed this Lens, and look forward to more from you on the same topic.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      I love the look and feel of seashells but before reading this fascinating and informative lens I knew very little about them. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge on this wonderful topic!

    • profile image

      serenefils 3 years ago

      Croix Du Sud

    • Steve Dizmon profile image

      Steve Dizmon 3 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Nice collection of sea shells. Enjoyed the Lens. Thanks.

    • sha-ron profile image

      sha-ron 3 years ago

      Great information. I love collecting shells and making crafts like shell wreaths, photo frames and other bits and pieces with my shells

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 years ago from New York

      I have enjoyed your info and the research you have gone through to identify your shell finds. Happy hunting this summer!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 2 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I always enjoy looking for shells at the beach...not sure I know what I'm looking for though. Your lenses was helpful..thanks.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 2 years ago from United States

      What a fabulous resource for identifying seashells! Thank you for creating this awesome page. I have always loved collecting seashells, but have never taken the time to identify them.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      This is my step-daughter's hobbie, she's a pro at this too :) - a very detailed and thorough page, wow!

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