Scallop Shells Collected on the East Coast

collection of calico scallop shells

While photographing my newly collected shells the other day, I decided to re-photograph my pretty scallop shells. Florida waters can contain a variety of types of scallops, but the shells I find over here on the east coast are mainly the Atlantic Calico Scallop.

Ponce Inlet, Florida’s central east coast

While beachcombing in my area of Florida, the best shells are often found around Ponce Inlet and the jetty area. Because of the rough surf and strong currents many of the shells are broken, worn, or have turned black. When I say “best shells” I mean the most unusual or rarely seen while I search the sand. I sometimes find olive shells here, big angel wings, scallops, and bits of coral. On this day, I found a pretty little pink scallop and a couple that were blackened from being buried in the sediment for a long time.

Pink and Black Scallop Shells

Photographing Scallop Shells

Sometimes photos can show a clearer picture of the intricate details of a seashell. The calico scallop, when found before it’s colors fade or turn black or orange, is quite pretty. I have a few of those and you can see the color variety in my photo below. Colors tend to be off-white, cream and yellow with blotches of maroon and pink.

Notice that some of the “ears”, or protrusions at the front of the shell, have worn down or off completely on some shells.

calico scallops

I’ve taken some macro photos to show the ribs on the shells a bit better. Other types of scallops that can be found in Florida waters are the Zig Zag and Round Ribbed, Rough Scallop, Scaly Scallop and famous Lion Paw (very rare). The Bailey-Matthews Museum on Sanibel Island has come good photos Florida’s scallops. See the set under the Family Pectinidae on their site.

The Round Ribbed and Zig Zag scallop have flat tops so as a bivalve each side looks different. You may find the colorful flat piece or the bottom, less colorful part. The Scaly scallop is more elongated and one of it’s “ears” is much longer than the other.

Bay scallops are now rarely found, according to the Living Beaches book (affiliate link to Amazon, new book version). Their ribs are more squared, but when I look at photos I can’t really see much difference between the Bay and Calico as far as shape. Because the Bay Scallop is now rare, I assume my shells are all Calico varieties.


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Author: Pam

Spending time on the water is the best, and blogging about the sea life found along the saltwater river and ocean is what I do. I’m also a designer at Zazzle and sell my work, with a lot of ocean themes, on the site.

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