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Sea Shells and Shell Collecting

Updated on October 11, 2014

Information on Sea Shells and Shell Collecting

This page is all about sea shells and shell collecting. Common North American sea shells include knobby whelks, smooth whelks, lightning whelks, moon snails, periwinkles, bay scallops, ocean quahogs, hard clams, jingles, angel wings, drills, oysters, blue mussels, limpets, cockles and others.

Atlantic Coast Shell Collecting

America's Mid Atlantic beaches can yield a wide range of shells, artifacts and unique treasures. Atlantic shells tend to include knobby whelks, smooth whelks, moon snails, periwinkles, bay scallops, ocean quahogs, hard clams, jingles, limpets, cockles and others.

In addition to mollusks and shellfish, there are other items such as sand dollars, starfish, ray and shark egg cases, horseshoe crab egg cases, crab shells, sharks teeth and occasionally even gold or silver coins!

Time and location are important for the collector. While the warm days of summer find most beach lovers out, the best collecting is actually in the cooler months. One good way to find shells along beaches is to look for low stretches where the water can surge farther up on the sand. In these areas, small patches of beach can be covered with fragments and may also contain whole shells in excellent condition.

New crops of shells often wash ashore following a strong storm from an easterly direction. Once the storm subsides and the waters recede, sea shell enthusiasts can explore in hopes of having a new crop to choose from.

Dedicated shell collectors may have a friend that can take them farther along the beach by four wheel drive vehicle. An adventure by oversand vehicle takes visitors to areas that are not normally accessible by foot. These areas may also have different geography and can yield a wider range of shells and artifacts.

Not to be overlooked are nearby bays and coves. Here, visitors will find hard clams, razor clams, oyster, mussel and other shells. In addition to empty shells, beach lovers will enjoy seeing live sea life including fish, shorebirds, blue crabs, fiddler crabs, hermit crabs, shrimp, starfish, snails, live clams, oysters, mussels and much more.

Some of the best eastern beaches include Assateague Island, the other barrier islands and Virginia Beach in Virginia. North Carolina also has some outstanding beaches that are well suited for collecting. The outer banks of North Carolina are prime examples of productive and enjoyable shell collecting beaches.

Assateague Island

Assateague Island is a pristine area along the coast of Maryland and Virginia. The majority of the Maryland parcel of the island lies within Assateague National Seashore. Roughly 400 acres of Maryland land is part of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Virginia portion of makes up the larger part of the island. Virginia land is occupied by Assateague National Seashore and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Sea Shells - Shell Collecting Guestbook

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a very good idea for a lens i love collecting sea shell with my children