The Jewel Box Seashells Are Leafy, Spiny and Corrugated

Florida spiny jewelboxes

Florida’s Spiny Jewelbox

This is a picture of my spiny jewelbox seashells. I don’t have many and they are simply call Spiny Jewelbox (Arcinella cornuta). They are white with spikes or ridges (if the spikes have worn down) and the inside is pinkish.  These are found on both Florida coasts, but mainly along the Gulf Coast and Keyes area.  Many may not have spines because they get broken and worn off by the action of the sea.

This shell is a bi-valve, which means it comes in two parts.  It is rare to find any bi-valves that are still attached along the beach because the action of the waves tends to break the shells apart.  Also, some bi-valves live attached to something, like wharf pilings or rocks, and that part stays put as the upper half may break off.  This is the case when you find a kittenpaw shell.

Other types of Jewelbox shells, which I may have collected at some point when I had no idea what I was picking up, look a bit different than mine.  In fact, some do not have spines or spikes, but are still rather bumpy looking. The Leafy Jewelbox (Chama macerophylla) has many flattened, thin ridges (unless they are worn – then they are bumpy) and can be colorful purple and orange or bright yellow.

There is also a Corrugate Jewelbox (or Little Corrugated Jewelbox) which is small, growing only to around one inch in size.   It is a flatter, bumpy shell without such distinct ribs as in the spiny variety.  Both of these can be collected on most Florida coastlines, although you may have to search harder on the east coast where shells are more sparse.  These shells are small, whereas the others can be up to three inches in size.

The Atlantic Left-Handed Jewelbox (Pseudochama radians) is also known as the False Jewelbox and I really don’t know much about that one except that it is found from North Carolina to Brazil.

If you live on the west coast of the U. S., you may find the Clear Jewel Box (Charma arcana) seashell along your coastline.  It looks a lot like the Leafy Jewel Box except that it is not as colorful but may be tinged with pink or orange.

What are the spines and “leafy parts” for?  It helps protect them from other seashell predators who may want to drill into the shell and eat what is inside.  Yup, that’s what they do!

6 thoughts on “The Jewel Box Seashells Are Leafy, Spiny and Corrugated

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