Saturday, March 23, 2013

"Go on, high ship, since now, upon the shore, The snake has left its skin upon the floor." ~ Wallace Stevens

In an effort to sooth my need for some serious shelling, we made a trip to Sanibel Island, famed for its wonderful abundance of shells.  Unfortunately, the low-tides, best for shelling, did not cooperated with our time there.  We spent a lovely day at the beach anyway.

The beach was littered with what looked like so many shed snake skins!  In fact, these were all egg cases for shells - quite amazing.  

This is the egg case of the Lightning Whelk.  "Each pocket of the Lightning Whelk egg case contains between 20 and 100 tiny whelks.  If the egg case is fertile, the beachcomber can cut open a pocket and examine the baby whelks.   These tiny whelks begin to eat each other as they emerge from the case.  Most of the eggs in each capsule serve as food for the usually single individual that will emerge." ~ Florida's Fabulous Sea Shells
The Lightning Whelk
This is the egg case of the Banded Tulip.
The Banded Tulip 

The Devil's Purse - or as my sisters and I referred to them when we were little - Mermaid's Purses.  These are in fact the egg case of the Cleanose Skate.  "It is made of a material which is similar to that of fingernails.  Unopened, it looks like it might be a seedpod with hooks or horns on the ends.  When it is cut open, one small, embryonic skate is revealed.  In the sea, these cases will hold the embryos safely for several months and then split open to release fully formed baby skates."  Florida's Fabulous Sea Shells
The Clearnose Skate

 Lots of other very interesting seaweeds and shells.

This one reminds me of the 13 Colonies snake from the Revolutionary War below:

All so very interesting!


  1. Your photos are wonderful but I hate snakes. It was hard for me to look at. I grew up on a Texas rice farm and snakes were a way of life. Most of them were very deathly. We had to be very careful and always watchful!!!

  2. Oh, I'm sorry Dottie. It was a bit creepy - but so fascinating to see. Thankfully I knew that no harm would come!

  3. Wow that looks like some amazing finds to me. The girls would go crazy there!! Clarice

    1. It really was amazing. I would have to say that most of the beach-goers seemed nonplussed by it all - I think that they are just accustomed to them. We were amazed!

  4. What an education - I had no idea, and how COOL!! I especially love the Join or Die similarity. Thanks for all of these trips to the beach, Tracy. Your photos are a refreshing break from the snow beneath my window.

    1. The snow will be beneath my window soon!