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seashells in south carolina

Hilton Head Island's beaches are full of South Carolina's most found seashells!

ANGELWING Cyrtopleura costata

seashells South Massachusetts to Texas and to Brazil. Four to 7 inches, moderately fragile; pure-white with a thin gray periostracum. With about 30 well-developed, beaded ribs which are scalelike at the anterior end of the valve. Protoplax chitinous and triangular; mesoplax "butterfly-shaped," calcareous. Siphons united, long, grayish. Rare in the north; common in deep, soft sandy mud in west Florida. They live as deep as 2 feet and can move up and down in their burrows at will. Shells in some colonies nay have pink, concentric stains due to environmental conditions.

ANGULATE WENTLETRAP Epitonium angulatum

seashells New York to Florida and to Texas. Bermuda. Three-quarter to 1 inch in length, moderately stout to somewhat slender, strong and without an umbilicus. Eight whorls with about 9 or 10 strong, but thin ribs which are very slightly reflected backwards and which are usually angulated at the shoulder, especially in the early whorls. The ribs are usually formed in line with those on the whorl above and are fused at china-white. One of the commonest Atlantic wentletraps found in shallow water to 25 fathoms.

APPLE MUREX Phyllonotus pomum

seashells North Carolina to Florida and to Brazil. Bermuda. Two to 4 and one-half inches in length. Sturdy with a rough surface. No long spines. Colored dark-brown to yellowish tan. Aperture glossy, ivory, buff, yellow or orangish with a dark-brown spot on the upper end of the parietal wall. Outer lip crenulate and with 3 or 4 daubs of dark-brown. A very common shallow water species. Bores holes into and feeds upon oysters, mainly Crassostrea.


seashells Maryland to Florida, and south Texas to Brazil. Bermuda. Indies. One to 2 and one-half inches. A common, colorful scallop found abundantly a little offshore. Both valves quite fat. Ribs usually 20 (19 to 21), quite square in cross-section. Bottom valve commonly whitish with a little color; upper valve can be of many bright hues (lavender-rose, red, whitish with purple or reddish mottlings, etc). Rarely cast ashore.


seashells Off North Carolina to Florida and Cuba. Bermuda. Three to 7 inches in length, similar to zebra, but usually with smaller and more numerous white spots, with a more inflated and larger shell, and seldom has ocellated spots on the base of the shell. Rarely cast ashore after storms.


seashells Dinocardium robustum Virginia to north Florida, Texas and Mexico. Three to 4 inches in size, ovate, inflated, with 32 to 36 rounded, radial, smoothish ribs. Externally straw-yellow with its posterior slope mahogany-red shading toward purple near the edge. Interior rose, with brownish posteriorly and with a white anterior margin. This is the large, common cockle washed ashore along the Carolina and Georgia strands. It is not found in southwest Florida where the subspecies vanhynigni (Clench & Smith) is common.


seashells Labrador to South Carolina. Up to 10 inches in length, 6 times as long as high, moderately curved and with sharp edges. Shell white, covered with a thin, varnish-like, brownish green periostracum. Common on sand-flats.


seashells Canada to Florida and to Texas. Three-quarters to 2 inches in size. Shelly deck extending over the posterior one-half on the inside of the shell. The deck is usually concave and white to buff. Its edge is strongly sinuate or waved in two places. Exterior dirty-white to tan, sometimes with brownish blotches and rarely with long color arched. They may be corrugated if the individual has lived attached to a scallop or ribbed mussel. A common littoral species. Individuals usually stack up on top of one another.

ATLANTIC SURFCLAM Spisula solidissima

seashells Nova Scotia to South Carolina. Up to 7 inches in length (usually about 4 or 5 inches), strong, oval and smoothish, except for small, irregular growth lines. The lateral teeth bear very tiny, sawtooth ridges. Color yellowish white with a thin yellowish brown periostracum. Common below low-water mark on ocean beaches. Sometimes cast ashore on South Carolina beaches.


seashells Texas colymbus North Carolina to Florida, and the West Indies and to Brazil. Bermuda. One and one-half to 3 inches in length, obliquely oval with a long extension of the hinge line toward the posterior end. Left valve inflated. Right valve somewhat flatter with a strong anterior notch for the byssus. Periostracum matted, brown and with cancellate fimbrications. Exterior color variable: brown, black or brownish purple with broken, radial lines of cream or white. Interior pearly with a wide, non-pearly margin of purplish black with irregular cream rays. Commonly attached to sea whips from low water to several fathoms.

BANDED TULIP Fasciolaria lilium

seashells Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to Mobile Bay, Alabama and all of Florida. Two and one-half to three inches in length, whorls smooth, even at the sutures. The widely spaced, rarely broken, distinct 7 to 11 spiral, purple-brown lines and cloudy background are characteristic. No axial riblets or early whorls in shallow water colonies. Last whorl with 5 or 6 maroon spiral lines. Background ivory or bluish gray and with mauve axial flames. Upper whorls with 2 brown lines.

BROWN-BAND WENTLETRAP Epitonium rupicola

seashells Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Florida and to Texas. One-half to 1 inch in length, moderately stout to slender, and without an umbilicus. Color whitish or yellowish with 2 brownish, spiral bands on each side of the suture. Color often diffused. About 11 globose whorls, each of which has from 12 to present. Base of shell with a single, fine, spiral thread. Common from low water to about 20 fathoms.


seashells North Carolina to Florida, Texas and the West Indies to Argentina. 2 to 3 inches in length, 4/5 as high, eggshell thin, but moderately strong. Concentric sculpture of smoothish, distinct ribs which on the inside of the valves show as grooves. Radial sculpture of very fine, crinkly threads. Color pure-white. Commonly washed ashore, especially along the strands of the Carolinas, but rarely seen alive. Lives in 2 to 3 fathoms just offshore.

CHANNELED WHELK Busycon canaliculatum

seashells Cape Cod to St. Augustine, Florida. Introduced to San Francisco Bay California. Five to 7 and one-half inches in length, characterized by a deep, squarish, rather wide channel running along the suture and by the heavy, feltlike, gray periostracum. The shoulder has a strong carina or ridge which is weakly beaded in the early whorls. Common in shallow, sandy areas. Left-handed specimens are very rare.

COMMON JINGLE anamia simplex

seashells Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Florida, to Texas to Brazil. Bermuda. One to 2 inches in size, irregularly oval, smoothish, thin but strong. The upper or free valve is usually quite convex; the lower valve is flattish and with a hole near the appex. Color either translucent-yellow or dull-orange. Some with a slivery sheen. Specimens buried in mud become blackened. Very commonly attached to logs, wharfs and boats. The round, calcified base of the byssus from formerly living specimens may remain attached to stones and other shells.

CROSS-BARRED VENUS Chione cancellata

seashells North Carolina to Florida, Texas and the West Indies. Brazil. One to 1 3/4 inches in length, varying from ovate to subtriangular in shape, thick; with strong, raised, curved, leaf-like, concentric ribs and numerous coarse radial ribs. Escutcheon long, smooth and V-shaped, commonly with 6 to 7 brown, zebra-stripes. Lunule heart-shaped, with minute vertical threads. Color externally is white to gray; internally glossy-white with a suffusion of purplish blue. A very common, shallow-water species in the southeast United States. Beach worn specimens have a cancellate sculpturing.

CROSS-HATCHED LUCINE Divaricella quadrisulcata

seashells Massachusetts to south half of Florida and the West Indies to Brazil. One-half to 3/4 inch in length, almost circular, moderately inflated, and glossy-white in color. Sculpture of fine, criss-cross or divaricate, impressed lines. Inner margin minutely impressed. A very common species washed ashore on sandy beaches. Occurs down to 53 fathoms. It is used extensively in the shellcraft business.

DISK DOSINIA Dosinia discus

seashells Virginia to Florida, Texas and the Bahamas. Two to 3 inches in length, similar to elegans, but having more and finer concentric ridges (about 50 per inch in adults), and not so circular. Commonly washed ashore in perfect condition after storms along the Carolina coasts and middle western Florida.