Some common long shells found on the beaches I frequent are the pen shell, jackknife clam and stout tagelus.
Pen shells often have an iridescent shine and the ones I find are usually just pieces. An unbroken shell can be close to a foot in length.
According to my Seashell Book, there are three types of pen shell: the sawtooth, stiff and half-naked. Pretty weird names. Contrary to what you might think, the sawtooth is the smoothest looking. The other two have vertical ridges going the length of the top “fan” part of the shell.
The Minor Jackknife Clam Shell
This long, whitish shell is the Minor Jackknife clam. My kids used to call it a fingernail shell. It is also a razor clam.
The longish and wider shells shown below next to my eye glasses are stout tagelus. These are also known as “short razor” clams.
Pen shells are related to mussels which are not the prettiest of shells. I have one in my photo below along with a tagelus.
The Coffee melampus shell is small and roundish. The one I photographed is brown in color with horizontal stripes. The hermit crab which was carrying the shell, was hidden down under the large crown conch. It’s one of those small shells which would be easy to overlook while beach-combing. The living crown conchs seemed to […]Read More…
The Bruised Nassa shell is so small that it would be very easy to miss on a sandy beach. They only grow to be 3/4 of an inch and this one is about a half inch. Luckily there was no hermit crab inside so I brought it home to get these photos. I found this […]Read More…
When a reader left me a comment about my big horse conch photo, saying that it looked unusual, I began to look more closely at the horse conch photos I had taken and compare them with photos online. Apparently the horse conchs I usually find are called “knobless wonder”. This is because they lack the […]Read More…