Rare seashells from Turner Beach, Captiva, Florida

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Sad to say, I am currently not packing for a trip in six weeks time. Because of the recent severe damage in SW Florida that was inflicted by Hurricane Ian, I will not be visiting the Florida Gulf Coast islands of Sanibel and Captiva on the first of December 2022 for three weeks, as has been the case for me each year since 2011.

I will very much miss all the shelling that I usually do, and I will miss giving the rarer shells that I find to Dr. José H. Leal, who is the Science Director and Curator of the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel. José is a very nice person and a friend of mine. I have given numerous batches of shells to the museum research collection since 2011, when I first started visiting Sanibel and Captiva.

In order to commemorate how well I usually do with shells, particularly on Turner Beach, which is the beach at the southern tip of the island of Captiva, I decided to make a list of all of the rare shells I have found there.

Some of the shells on this list are certainly not rare everywhere in their range. Some, for example, are common in parts of the Caribbean, and yet they are rare in the shallow water of SW Florida, or at least they only rarely wash up on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Some of the locally rarer species tend to show up after beach replenishment projects, and that is because they are more common in deeper water.

So, this list mainly consists of species that are genuinely only very uncommonly found on the beaches of Lee County. But the list also includes a number of species that are not uncommon in the area. Surprisingly, those species (for example Ervilia concentrica) although quite common on Turner Beach, had been completely overlooked by all of the shellers who had donated local material and local collections to the Shell Museum before I started visiting Captiva and Sanibel in 2011. There is a shell club on Sanibel and many residents and visitors come to Sanibel specifically to collect shells, so when I started out, I did not expect to be able to find any species that no-one else had yet found. And yet now I have found over 30 species that were new to the list for this area.

But I should explain that I do a lot of my most productive searching while moving through promising spots and drift lines on the beach by crawling on my knees and elbows with my nose near the sand. Most people look for shells while they are walking or standing up, although some shellers do sit down and search. A few people take sediment samples home, in order to search for the shells of micromollusks using magnification. However, because most people do not crawl on the beach, the majority of shellers never seem to notice numerous species of shells that are between 8 mm and 2 mm in maximum size.

Also some shellers refuse to show any interest in bivalves that are present only as single valves. Because of that prejudice, they miss a large number of the rarer species of bivalves.

While most of the shells here listed were found on Turner Beach, I have also included the names of a few rare species which I found on one or another beach on Sanibel Island, but those listings are clearly marked as such.

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Gastropoda

Fissurellidae
Diodora meta -- three shells, 2014, 2015, 2017
Lucapinella limatula -- a nice fresh shell, 2015

Tegulidae
Agathistoma fasciatum -- one juvenile shell, 2015

Cerithiidae
Cerithium lutosum -- two shells, 2016, 2018

Tornidae
Cochliolepsis adamsii -- one shell

Naticidae
Polinices lacteus -- one shell from West Gulf Drive Beach on Sanibel

Tonnidae
Tonna galea -- fragments only

Cassidae
Cassis madagascariensis -- fragments only
Semicassis granulata

Volutidae
Scaphella junonia -- fragments only

Pseudomelatomidae
Crassispira sanibelensis -- a fine fresh shell from West Gulf Drive beach

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Scaphopoda

Dentaliidae
Antalis antillarum -- one shell

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Bivalvia

Arcidae
Barbatia domingensis -- several shells. I was the first person to find this species.
Fugleria tenera -- two shells
Arcopsis adamsi -- a few shells

Pinidae
Atrina seminuda -- no-one understood that this species was present on Sanibel until I explained that, and then Pam Rambo went searching for it.

Pectinidae
Euvola raveneli -- Not at all rare! This species was present on the islands and in the collection, but was not recognized as such until I pointed it out. In the early days of the museum, it was thought that only Euvola ziczac was present.

Limidae
Limaria pellucida -- one valve from Lighthouse Beach

Lucinidae
Callucina keenae -- several valves
Lucina pennsylvanica -- three valves from West Gulf Drive Beach
Parvilucina crenella -- a fair number but usually overlooked because of size

Unguliidae
Diplodonta nucleiformis -- one valve

Crassatellidae
Kalolophus speciosus -- one valve

Cardiidae
Americardia columbella -- a few valves

Anatinellidae
Anatina anatina -- a few intact shells, mostly from Lighthouse Beach and West Gulf Drive

Tellinidae
Serratina aequistriata -- a few valves

Semelidae
Ervilia concentrica -- very large numbers of valves, a few of them paired
Semelina nuculoides -- first found in 2014

Basterotiidae
Basterotia elliptica -- two valves
Basterotia quadrata -- several valves

Veneridae
Cyclinella tenuis -- intact empty shells from more than one beach on Sanibel
Lirophora varicosa -- two or three valves, one very fresh

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It is possible that I may have omitted one or two species which will need to be added to the list as I go along.

Publicado por susanhewitt susanhewitt, 18 de octubre de 2022

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