SeaShell News: Calico Scallop, Shelling, Cayo Costa Island

Seashell News, Cayo Costa Shelling, 3-6-15: Seashells Collected!
Seashell News, Cayo Costa Shelling, 3-6-15: Seashells Collected!

SeaShell News, 3-6-15, Calico Scallop, Shelling, Cayo Costa Island.

We had some fun shelling on Cayo Costa and then headed to Cabbage Key for lunch!

The Atlantic calico scallop, Argopecten gibbus, is a species of medium-sized edible saltwater clam, specifically a scallop, a marine bivalve mollusk in the family Pectinidae, the scallops.

This species was once the basis of an important fishery, but in recent years catches have been low.[1]

This species grows up to three inches in maximum width, and is similar in shape and sculpturing to theAtlantic bay scallop. Both valves of the shell are cupped. The shell near the hinge is extended into “ears”, as is the case in all scallops. The shell of the Atlantic calico scallop has about 20 radial ribs, which are sometimes roughened by growth lines.

The exterior coloration of the upper (left) valve is dark yellow or pink, with striking blotches of red which sometimes form stripes. The lower (right) valve of this scallop is whitish with small reddish or purple spots. It has a white interior, often with brown patches on the “ears” and top edge.

The lively outer coloration of the shell of this species gave rise to its popular name; in the USA, “calico” was for many years an inexpensive but colorful fabric printed with small flower patterns.

Source:  Calico Scallop.

SeaShell News: Dwarf Zigzag Scallop, Shelling, Captiva Island

Dwarf Zigzag Scallop 2 by FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Via Creative Commons.
Dwarf Zigzag Scallop 2 by FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Via Creative Commons.

SeaShell News, 3-4-15, Dwarf Zigzag Scallop, Shelling, Captiva Island.

“Euvola ziczac, or the zigzag scallop, is a species of bivalve mollusc in the family Pectinidae. It can be found along the Atlantic coast of North America, ranging from North Carolina to the West Indies and Bermuda.[1]

Euvola ziczac is known by many names. Previously, its scientific name was Pecten ziczac, but most current literature lists both Euvola and Pecten for clarity. Like other scallops, zigzag scallops bear the characteristic two-valved, calcium carbonate shells that are rounded along the outer edges and flattened at the bottom near the prominent hinges. On either side of the hinge are projecting “ears” or auricles that contribute to scallops’ distinctive shapes. In Bermuda, zigzag scallops commonly grow to 120 mm, but they are generally not as large in the Caribbean.

Zigzag scallop shells show a wavy, crenulated pattern along their outer edges and have several colored rays varying from white to orange, yellow, or gray. Within this pattern are well-defined annual rings which make determining a scallop’s age relatively easy to the trained eye. The zigzag scallop’s lower valve is somewhat cup-shaped, whereas its upper valve forms a flat to concave lid. They exhibit a zigzag pattern of stripes on their shells which gives the species its name. Interestingly, it also moves in a zigzag pattern when jetting.

Zigzag scallops in particular have a series of bright blue eyes along the edge of their mantles. These eyes, ocelli, are sensitive to changes in light intensity, and signal the animals to close their shells if they sense a change in shadows or another nearby disturbance. The scallops also close their shells if exposed to the air or mildly threatened. Surrounding the ocelli are small sensory tentacles which line the conspicuous inner fold of the mantle. These serve to regulate water flow into and out of the animal.”

Source:  Zigzag Scallop.

SeaShell News: Fighting Conch, Shelling, Cayo Costa Island

Seashell News, Cayo Costa Shelling, 3-2-15: Alphabet Cone By Jessica Lucia, Via Creative Commons.
Seashell News, Cayo Costa Shelling, 3-2-15: Fighting Conch By Jessica Lucia, Via Creative Commons.

SeaShell News, 3-3-15, Fighting Conch, Shelling, Cayo Costa Island.

“Strombus alatus, common name the ‘Florida fighting conch’ is a species of medium-sized warm-water seasnail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Strombidae, the true conchs.

This conch occurs in the Western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina throughout Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, Texas and the east coast of Mexico.”[1][2]

Source:  Fighting Conch.

SeaShell News: Alphabet Cone, Shelling, Cayo Costa Island

Seashell News, Cayo Costa Shelling, 3-2-15: Alphabet Cone. Photo Credit: coneshell.net.
Seashell News, Cayo Costa Shelling, 3-2-15: Alphabet Cone. Photo Credit: coneshell.net.

SeaShell News, 3-2-15, Alphabet Cone, Shelling, Cayo Costa Island.

Be careful with the alphabet cone!

“This particular cone is a predator that feeds on anything from marine worms to sizable fish. It hunts by extending its proboscis, ‘a muscular extension and retraction of the gut.’

When it touches prey, the proboscis launches a harpoon-like tooth that pierces the prey and injects deadly venom. The proboscis is then retracted, hauling the prey in.

The venom is very deadly and some species of cones have reportedly caused human fatalities.”

Source:  Alphabet Cone.

SeaShell News: Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island

Seashell News, 3-1-15: Tons Of Shells On Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island, By Gregory Moine, Via Creative Commons.
Seashell News, 3-1-15: Tons Of Shells On Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, By Gregory Moine, Via Creative Commons.

SeaShell News, 3-1-15, Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island.

Bowman’s Beach is one of the premier shelling beaches on Sanibel Island.

“Sea shell collecting is varied here although when a storm has recently passed by it is excellent. The removal of shells from this beach is prohibited when they house living creatures.

The white sand on this beach is composed of fine pulverized quartz, which eroded from the Appalachian Mountains some 200 million years ago and was delivered to the Gulf by inland tributaries. Over time, wind and sea currents brought the material to its current location.

Bowman’s Beach, Sanibel Island, FL, is on an island that is home to around 6,000 full time residents and 12,000 part time inhabitants. From the beach itself, there is no sign of said habitation as not a single building can be seen from the sands. Only palm trees serve as a backdrop here.

The island where this beach is found has been rated to be among the ten best places in the U.S. for bird watching. A small trail can be hiked through the woods behind the beach that runs parallel to the shoreline.

Source:  Bowman’s Beach.

SeaShell News: True Tulip & Banded Tulip, Cayo Costa Island

True Tulip & Banded Tulip, 2-28-15, Cayo Costa Island, SeaShell News & Shelling.
True Tulip & Banded Tulip, 2-28-15, Cayo Costa Island, SeaShell News & Shelling.

SeaShell News, 2-28-15, True Tulip & Banded Tulip, Shelling, Cayo Costa Island.

A nice True Tulip and a Banded Tulip from shelling on Cayo Costa Island.

“The tulip shell has a fusiform outline, with an overall smooth surface, and presents fine growth lines, and small denticles on the inner edge of its delicate outer lip.[2] It is whitish to tan in color, with rows of darker brownish blotches of various sizes. Over the blotches are symmetrical rows of thin lines which spiral along the whorls of the shell, which are normally about 9[2] in number.

The shell of an adult tulip snail can be from 2.5” to 9.5” inches (6.4 – 24.1 cm) in length.”  Source:  True Tulip.

“The banded tulip shell does not grow as large as that of the true tulip, Fasciolaria tulipa. Also the color pattern is different: the color splotches appear as a redder color (blue in rare areas) and the stripes that give the banded tulip its name are much farther apart.

The shell grows to be 2 ¼ – 4 1/8 inches (5.7-10.5 cm) in length.”  Source:  Banded Tulip.

SeaShell News: King’s Crown, Captiva Island

King's Crown, 2-28-15, Sanibel Island, SeaShell News & Shelling.
King’s Crown, 2-28-15, Sanibel Island, SeaShell News & Shelling.

SeaShell News, 2-28-15, King’s Crown, Shelling, Captiva Island.

Beautiful King’s Crown seashells from Sanibel & Captiva.

“Melongena corona Usually found among the mangroves and oyster beds. Up to 4″ in size.

Tends to be more of a bay shell because of its habitat. This is not usually a shell to be found along the beach unless you are near a pass of other area where oyster bars and mangroves are near.

Color form and spine structure can vary greatly from one area to the next.”  Source:  King’s Crown.

SeaShell News: Albino Scotch Bonnet, Sanibel Island

Albino Bonnet Seashell, 2-27-15, Sanibel Island, SeaShell News & Shelling.
Albino Bonnet Seashell, 2-27-15, Sanibel Island, SeaShell News & Shelling.

SeaShell News, 2-27-15, Albino Scotch Bonnet, Sanibel Island.

Rough water and wind has made the shelling superb the last couple of days.

“The Scotch bonnet (Semicassis granulata), also known as the ridged bonnet, is a medium-sized species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the subfamily Cassinae.[13][14] The common name alludes to the general outline and color of the shell, which vaguely resemble a Tam o’ Shanter, a traditional Scottish bonnet.

This species is found primarily in the tropical and subtropical Western Atlantic Ocean, from North Carolina to Uruguay.[12] It is the most common species in this subfamily in North America. A similar-appearing sea snail in the Mediterranean SeaSemicassis granulata undulata, has been considered a subspecies. These sea snails are predators; they search for their food on sandy stretches of the ocean floor, where they consume echinoderms such as sand dollars, sea biscuits, and other sea urchins.[15]

In 1965, the shell of this species was named a state symbol of North Carolina, making this the first state to designate an official state shell.”  Source:  Scotch Bonnet.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands