Star Fish Are Sea Stars

Starfish are sea stars and whatever you choose to call them they are living creatures and amazing animals.

As I’ve written this blog over the years, I’ve begun to realize that purchasing any type of seashell or starfish is not a good idea. The starfish pictured here were bought by me before I knew better. They were most likely collected alive from the ocean floor and left to dry out and die so a shop could buy them and make money. I also bought them to hopefully make money – from their images.

These days I search sites like Pixabay for my starfish images. I will not buy seashells or starfish or sand dollars.

A “Starfish Couple”

Photos like this one have worked well for me as far as designing has gone. Using favorite photos, I isolated the sea stars, enhanced them a bit and put them back together to create a “couple”. I then used the two starfish to create stationery for sale in my Zazzle shop Sandpiper Wedding. Many couples getting married on the beach love to use starfish to represent their love for the sea. The set is a good seller as are other sets of stationery that feature sea stars.

Don’t Buy Starfish and Seashells

Whenever there is a demand for this type of thing, mainly for decorating a beach house or coastal residence, someone will collect sea life by the bushel to make money. They will not be scouring the beaches for hours in search of an already dead starfish. They go out and dredge the bottom of the sea and bring in living creatures. Once dead, those sea star exoskeletons are rigid and ready for sale, probably in bulk, to shops that specialize in coastal things.

Be Careful When Shell / Starfish Collecting

I also want to warn against collecting sea stars if you ever happen to come across them on the beach. You can read more on this post about that. And only empty seashells should be taken, if you want a souvenir.

For the most part, sea stars stay in the water. If they are up out of the water, they have probably been put there unintentionally either by a storm with high surf, or left stranded by a low tide. A predator bird could also have dropped it there. So the chance that you will come across a starfish, dried out and ready to take home, is unlikely.

Appreciating Sea Stars

If you find a beautiful sea star on the beach, take a photo. Assume it is alive, and maybe move it carefully to the water. It’s so easy to get photographic memories these days. Nearly everyone carries a phone everywhere they go. My photos of the Lined sea star and tiny sea star were taken with my phone.

Starfish / Sea Star Coloring Pages for Download

I also offer some free, printable pages with sea stars to color. Helping kids appreciate nature and sea life can go a long way to securing a good future for marine animals.

Right click and download any, or all images for personal or homeschool use. These images are copyright protected and are not to be offered for sale or in bulk.

starfish coloring page with 9-legged starfish
Florida’s 9-legged starfish
starfish coloring page download
Sea stars coloring page
starfish coloring page
Two starfish

Seashell Identification: How It Began

I am not a seashell expert, just an everyday person who has taken an interest in identifying the Florida shells I have collected over the years.  

This page is about how and why the seashell identification blog began.

The east coast Florida beaches never offered up a lot of shells, but coquinas and arks were regular finds. Of course back when I took my kids to the beach, I didn’t know any shell names. I knew the popular sand dollar and starfish (sea star) but never found those. And I certainly didn’t give much thought to the marine snails that made the shells.

My Early Blog Photos From 2009

When I began working at Zazzle, back in 2007, I used some of my photography to make products to sell. That led to beginning this blog. I began writing from my New Hampshire home and used photos of the shells I had collected over the years.

Believe me, I barely knew what a blog was, and it’s been a learning experience for me. My about page has more info, so I won’t go into my life history, but these days I use the blog for more than writing about seashells. It is now also part of my online stores where I have linked pages at the top menu of this site.

We Bought a Boat!

Once I returned to Florida to live, I knew I needed to get away from the crowds by escaping to the water. So, we bought a boat. It’s a Hewes Redfisher flats boat. That may mean nothing to you, but basically it’s a small boat with low sides made for fishing. The draft is shallow so we can go into some quite shallow water. It allows us to travel through the backwaters along the Indian River lagoon area and stop at sandy beaches that show up during low tide.

Now, I can also write about my travels to find shells and sea life because I live in Florida again. Instead of only combing the ocean beach, I can now explore islands along the river. Because they are rarely visited by beachcombers, I find lots to photograph.

Help Identifying Seashells

I began trying to identify all kinds of seashells, but have narrowed it down to the shells of Florida. Some of these shells are also found elsewhere, but the variety is too massive to cover well.

Once I had enough photos, I could create pages to help readers identify common shells they might find while visiting Florida.

I’ve also created free, printable coloring pages for home and homeschool use. I like to think that kids would enjoy learning about marine snails and other sea creatures. See more at the dropdown links at the top of this site.

Some Favorite Island Visits

Here are some truly wonderful and favorite creatures of the sea I encountered while beach-combing.

giant red crab florida
Giant Red Hermit Crab

Spider crab close up
Spider Crab

Every day out on the water is a good one, but sometimes I get lucky and see some unique creatures. The Giant Red Hermit Crab was one such find. I see hermit crabs a lot, but none like this one!

The Spider Crab was another odd creature I encountered while beach-combing in shallow water. Click the photos to read more.

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