Wednesday, September 24, 2008

S is for Seashells

I enjoy searching for shells on the beach.


After Ike hit Texas, we went to Matagorda Beach in search of treasures. Though hurricanes are never welcomed, they do bring lots of shells to the coast. In the short time we searched we found a number of nice Lightning Whelks, the state shell of Texas. It's different from other whelks in that the opening is distinctively "left-handed"--it invites your left hand in when you hold it tail down. It is considered a good find on Texas beaches.

Lightning Whelk

Another good find is the Sundial. It's one of my favorites and I've adopted it as my signature shell. I've collected hundreds of them which I display in a wooden bowl on our dining room table. Normally I find light-colored Sundials, but this day I was lucky to find two black ones.

Sundial

The Lettered Olive shells below are considered common finds, but they are the first I've found at Matagorda Beach, so I was really excited.

Lettered Olive

But not nearly as excited as I was when I found the shell below.

Mitchell's Wentletrap

This rare treasure is a Mitchell's Wentletrap! It's not a perfect specimen and it's a little smaller than normal, but I'm convinced that I've identified it correctly. This highly sought after shell was first discovered by Texas naturalist J.D. Mitchell. It's such an uncommon find that I never really believed I would ever find one, though I hoped so.


Additional Source: Shells of the Texas Gulf Coast

26 comments:

  1. Your shells are so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My grandma used to know all the shell names. I still have some of hers, and a few of her books. They lived in Tampa, Fla. We really don't have shells in Michigan. :)
    Bummer! Those are beauties>
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your shells are beautiful! I think the sundial is my favourite, probably because it's so different looking and I've never seen anything like it (except in pictures, mostly from you :-)
    I used to collect shells when I was scuba diving. Nova Scotia was great for that...but...we don't dive anywhere with shells to collect now...unless you wanted some zebra muscles ewwww.
    http://www.adrian.edu/chemistry/th/Somelinks/Spages/mrehkopf/mrehkopf.php

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice collection..Great to keep you busy while the fish are not biting!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ahhh - this is the perfect "S" post for you. I always love seeing your photo ID with the shell. I never knew all these shells had such interesting names. I guess I never really thought about it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shell collecting is so much fun, one of my favorite vacation activities.

    Thank you for sharing your collection.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You make me want to go to the beach now!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beach walking and picking up shells is one of my favorite things in life to do...sadly it happens very infrequently. Thank you for sharing your treasures.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a wonderful bunch of shells. I really like the lightening whelks. I love beachcombing myself, but haven't been able to do it much since I moved away from the beach.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love that you display them in a bowl on the table to be enjoyed ~ they are lovely to look at but even more so when they can be held and examined!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your shells are very pretty. It's so cool that you know all of the names. How interesting.
    Whenever we visit the beach I love to hunt for shells too.
    Your collection is very impressive!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow! You make me miss my day trips of beachcombing and sailing along the NC coast. I was just thinking about shells the other day because DD was writing a paper on Lord of the Flies and how the conch shell figured into the storyline. Thanks for the pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a lovely treasure find! I'll have to show the children this post so they can enjoy your shells, too!

    ReplyDelete
  14. those are really very beautiful. I have never stopped to realize that each type of shell has a name. Of course it makes sense, I just never gave it any thought. I like that you know the names. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. what wonderful additions to your collection.
    My parents live on Marco Island FL, and we used to collect shells when we visited from college - most of the ones we got back then are now very rare - and my parents just donated their collection to the museum where they live - the museum was very thrilled.
    hang onto those beauties :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. The shells are wonderful and to think you can actually identify them. I am impressed and jealous. It must be a lot of fun to comb the beach for these treasures.

    The only shells I could possibly find in Wyoming are fossils if I only knew where to look.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for the links with more information.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful! I have gone beach combing many times in my life and have never found treasures like that.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Lovely shell pictures. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the Lightning Whelk shell, the shape but especially the colors. I don't have any shells, but looking at yours makes me want some :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Daisy (my seven year old) loves shells too and always fills a bag when we hit the beach. She then lays them out in patterns in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
  21. It seems my first comment didn't take -so I hope I'm not repeating myself. I just wanted you to know that not only do I enjoy reading your blog, but have noticed on other blogs the wonderful and supportive comments you have left. You enrich the blog world with your encouraging words.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love your shells! I have never been on the gulf or Atlantic so have not found those types of shells, except for olive shells, which we do have on the Pacific. I imagine all kinds of amazing things get blown up after a storm. Congratulations on your rare find!

    ReplyDelete
  23. God's handiwork is so beautiful! Glad you found so many nice ones:~D

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful shells - what a neat collection. I am glad you are safe - thought about during the hurricane. We just got power back last night - 12 long days with power. No damage though but there are many, many trees down in our area along with many, many power lines!! Hope your family members are doing okay and are now with power.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I had no idea that all those shells had different names. That's really neat! They are quite beautiful. Congratulations on the Mitchell's Wentletrap!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Shells are so pretty! Sometimes the underside is more colorful than the top. I like to go shelling also. Your Mitchell's Wentletrap is really neat!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting!
~Tracy