scallop shell

Collecting the Popular Scallop Seashell

Which are the most popular seashells to collect?  I think it depends on where you are collecting your shells.  Not every type of shell is found on all beaches so if you are collecting in Maine you will find a different variety on the beaches compared to what the sheller on the Gulf of Mexico will find. But scallops are found all over.

The scallop shell is one of the most common and it can be quite colorful.  Generally it contains a small raised area at the top where the two halves (it’s a bivalve) are joined when alive, and spreads out with notched ridges that can be white pink, brown or have stripes or colored markings of purple, red and orange.

yellow scallop shell
Scallop Shell

Scallops also usually have those extended “wings” at the top.  It’s the easiest way to know a scallop from a clam shell.

Types of scallops:

  • Calico scallops – colorful (purple, red, orange, pink, yellow splotches on white)
  • Atlantic bay scallops – ribs are squarish and they are less colorful.  They are larger and can be up to 4 inches.
  • Scaly scallops – have one “wing” or ear at the top that is much longer than the other.
  • Zigzag scallops – flat shells with distinct zigzag patterns of purple, red or orange
  • Round-rib scallops – are also flat but their ribs are wider than the zigzag
  • Rough scallops – small shells that have tiny spikes on their ribs, which may have been worn off by the sand and surf.
  • The more unusual looking, and much collected, of the scallops are the rare Lions Paw and much more common Kittenspaw.
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