Saturday, December 20, 2014

Seashells on the Alabama Gulf Coast

There are a wide variety of shells that can be found on the shores of Alabama. Beachgoers enjoy strolling along the beautiful water on the white sand in search of shells. Even the most avid of shell hunters enjoy searching the pristine beaches for treasures to bring home. Here ares some of the Alabama Gulf Coast's most common seashells:


Ark shells come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are usually white or beige in color. Some of them have deep brown striped shells. They have a long, straight-hinged line that almost gives the appearance of teeth. Ark shells are commonly found in the area.

Augers Auger Shell

Augers are also referred to as auger snails. The shells of these predatory sea snails are spiral in shape with ridges throughout. The shells actually have a slight resemblance to a rock drill bit. While alive, they live in the sand and prey on all kinds of marine worms.

Bonnets Bonnet Shell

Bonnet shells are the remains of a medium sized sea snail. The bonnet shell got that name because it looks similar to the Scottish Tam O’Shanter, which is a traditional hat with a tartan pattern. It is usually white with colored patches on it.

Nutmegs Nutmeg Shell

Most nutmeg shells are less than an inch in size. They vary in size, shape and color. Most have a white background with darker colored markings on the shell.

Conch Conch Shell

Conch shells are the shells of medium to large sea snails. They have a really high spiral and a siphonal canal. Conch shells are often used as decorative items because of the beautiful pink to red color on the inside of the shell. The shells can also be made into musical instruments and they are used this way in the islands of the Caribbean.


Coquinas are the remnants of small clams that are edible. These beautiful shells usually wash onto the beach at low tide. They are only about 20cm in size. They can be very colorful and beautiful.

Jewel Boxes Jewel Box Shell

The jewel box shell is roughly an inch and a half wide. It has a thick, off white shell. The inside of the shell is glossy and has a pinkish hue to it. The ribs have frilly spines that protrude from them. The shell is surprisingly heavy for its size.

Moon Shells Moon Shell

Moon shells are very common snail shells found on the Gulf Coast. They often have a white base color with tannish brown or gray swirls on it. Moon shells can be up to three inches in diameter.


The giant Eastern murex is also common to this area. This is a predatory sea snail that is between medium and large in size. They are often collected on our beaches at 3 to 4" in length. These shells have really interesting shapes, ridges and spines, and have a whitish color with brown accents.

Lettered Olive Lettered Olive Seashell

The lettered olive shell is the remains of a large sea snail with a predatory nature. The shell is cylindrical and very smooth and glossy. The shells are usually tan or gray and have a brown zigzag pattern on them. They can be as large as 2 ½ inches

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