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Sanibel Shell Show Trip

Yup….we are going to plan another one day trip to Sanibel for those who would like to experience the oldest shell show in the state.  The club rents a 12-passenger van which will leave the Pompano Civic Center at 7:15 AM on Saturday, March 5th.  We will see the show, have lunch, stop at a shell shop – or two, and attempt some shelling before it gets dark.  We return to Pompano about 10:30 PM or sooner.  The cost is $30 per person which includes the rental fees/taxes, gas and tolls.  The van holds a maximum of 12, but if we have enough interest we will rent an additional van….BUT I will need someone to designate as a driver.  I will be driving the first van (as usual).  Please see me at the February meeting or call/email me at 954-296-5633 /  Checks are to be made out to The Broward Shell Club, but at least some cash payments would be nice, to use for the fuel and tolls.  All I ask is that if you commit to go then please do so.  If there is a remote possibility that you might not be able to go then please do not sign up as any cancellations will end up having to be paid for by the club.  It REALLY is a fun day and I encourage you new members to take advantage of this fun day.

February 2011 Meeting

The date for this month’s meeting is Wednesday, February 9th.  Doors open at 6:30 PM when the Library, Sand Flea Market and Raffle Table “open” for business.  The main program commences at 7:30.  For all you new members the meeting is held at the Civic Center, the same location as the Shell Show. Our presenter for this month’s program will be Peggy Williams, a guide for nine to ten shell collecting trips per year (see  Her program will be on traveling/shelling in Belize, showing the beauty of the locale, the Mayan pyramids, the rain forest, and the many interesting and exciting shells found there during her shelling trips. Here is how she describes Ambergris Cay, Belize: Picture an island town where you can stand on the main street (of four) and see the Caribbean in front of you and a sparkling blue bay behind. Few vehicles drive the sandy streets, but friendly people greet you in English as you visit modest gift shops or tiny street-corner stores. Daily boat rides bring you to brilliant coral reefs and grass flats where Conchs, Helmet Shells and Chanks grow to impressive size. You picnic on a remote beach on fresh fruit and fish baked over a fire while you snorkel for a variety of reef shells. Come see for yourself the beauty and allure of Belize!

March 9:  Shell Auction  –   April 13:   Bob Janowsky…”Shells: Rare, Medium & Well Done”.


January 2011 Program

This month Tom Ball will do a presentation on buying shells on eBay. He will show how to do searches in eBay, what shells are available, how to bid on them, how to send yourself email alerts when your favorite shell is listed, and other tips and tools to help you make your eBay shell buying experience safer, more efficient and more enjoyable.

Doors open at 6:30 PM with the main program commencing by 7:30.

Many thanks to Linda and Kevan Sunderland for their November presentation on “Life in the Everglades”. With the beautiful photography of our local flora and fauna, your great program was enjoyed immensely by all who attended. I am still getting positive feedback from members I talk to. Kudos to you (and again, thanks from me)!
Next month: Peggy Williams ( will be here.

It’s Shell Show time!!!

46th Annual BROWARD SHELL SHOW January 22-23, 2011, Emma Lou Olson Civic Center, 1801 NE 6th St, Pompano Beach, 33061, Hours: Saturday, 1/22/11 10am – 6pm, Sunday, 1/23/11 10am – 4pm. Admission and parking are free.

Exhibitor entries have been submitted and Dealers are finalized. Our Warehouse has been cleaned and arranged to allow for easy Shell Show setup. So many club members have contributed in so many ways this year. It’s been an incredible group effort and the Shell Show committee can’t thank you all enough for the role you have played in assisting to make the 2011 Broward Shell Show the best that it can be!!!!!

If you have shells or shell-related items to donate to the show, please bring them with you to the meeting! Our “Basket of Shells” raffle is shaping up to be pretty interesting and we are still accepting shell donations of specimen shells valued starting at $5.

Richard Sedlak is in charge of the setup committee. The committee will meet at the warehouse at 10am on Thursday, January 20th, to load cars and trucks with shells, supplies and props, take everything to the Civic Center and assemble the wall boards for our artistic displays. If you have a couple of hours to help, we would appreciate your assistance. Additionally, if you’d like to help me with table and show set, meet me at the Civic Center on Thursday at about 12pm.  Please call either Richard or Nancy to confirm if you plan on joining us for setup.

The Judges Dinner: Friday, January 21st at Galuppi’s, 1103 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, Florida, 33062. If you forgot to turn in your reservation form, it might not be too late to attend. Please call Nancy Galdo to confirm.  Award and trophy winners will be announced at the Judges’ Dinner! The program will be presented by Shell Show Judge Bill Lyons.

Please watch for the feature article in the Pompano Pelican January 5th issue. We will also run an advertisement in the Pelican January 12th issue.

We sincerely hope you will all join us at the show to enjoy the exhibits and dealers. If you have time to spend a few hours assisting at the show, your assistance will be greatly appreciated!!! For more information, to donate shells or volunteer to help with the show, please call Nancy Galdo, Shell Show Chair, 305-467-4412 or write:



With over 50 members and guests in attendance we can certainly congratulate Carolyn Harvey and Toni Fisher for a job very well done in organizing the 2010 Holiday Party.  I can’t remember when we last had so many in attendance.  As usual the food array …and quantity, was outstanding! We enjoyed visiting with some members we don’t get to see as often as we would like such as Connie,  Matthew and Madison Davis for instance.   The gift exchange was done differently this year due to the time restraints.  Everyone who brought an (unwrapped) gift, presented what they had to the group and anyone who wanted to trade what they had brought could do so.  It actually want quite well, and still had some of the “drama” of the Chinese auction style we used to do.  It was actually an evening that many did not want to see end.  Nice…..!



Dear Fellow CONCH-Lers

I was asked about a trip report to Florida this Christmas.  Let’s just start with the good news, it was SPECTACULAR.  We went to Sanibel for 5 days and oneday on Honeymoon/Caladesi Island.  We had wonderfully low tides thanks to the full moon (we had a lunar eclipse too, which must mean the sun and moon were cooperating especially well together).

The first impressions of Sanibel this year were the huge number of echinoderms on the beach… urchins, sea beans, starfish, and brittle stars.  Lots of Pens too.  On the central Sanibel beaches I found (mostly left) plenty of the regular-numerous Fasciolaria lilium and hunteria (both alive and cleaned), large live Pleuroploca gigantea and fewer dead small ones, lots of Oliva sayana, few Murex this year, and of course lots of Busycon, both species alive and cleaned.  In the Lightning Welks the largest live one I saw was maybe a 12 inch specimen, I did bring back an empty gem that was maybe 9 inches (and a larger less-than- perfect specimen).  Lots of Ficus communis, empty and with dead or living animal and a few Vericularia at Blind pass.  I found a few cones (C. spurious (5, but only 1 good) and C. floridanus), but my wife did better than I with two spectacular ones. I also did find a small fragment of a Junonia.  A women I had met at Blind pass found 1 and I got a Junonia in just two days! I found a few Cancellaria reticulata a couple of fragments of Phalium granulatium both on Sanibel and Cayo Casta and a nice little Lion’s Paw also on Cayo Casta.

A rather magical event.  I was up early before the crowds at the Pleuroploca gigantea colony taking photos of the animals. I was returning to the hotel and met my wife and daughter going out to the beach.  The beach was now covered with active shellers looking for prizes so I really didn’t think I’d find much in the way of non-living shells. At about the same time I met a women with her kids who had fairly recently lost her husband. She was a sweet woman and we talked a bit about her husband, how she missed him and how this trip was part of her healing process.  We parted after which I saw the top of a Pleuroploca gigantea buried in the sand.  I assumed it was also alive but was amazed when I turned it over to find it was actually an empty 11 inch specimen with some worm damage.  My first ever dead Horse Conch over 6 inches! I was admiring my prize when I thought about the woman. After thinking about it figured I really should give the Horse Conch to her.  As I approached her I saw that her son had also found one, this one an absolute gem and even a touch larger than the one I had found! And this on a crowded beach! Sanibel magic at it’s best. On Honeymoon Island the find was a 7 inch half eaten large red Fasciolaria tulipa (there were live ones too). We took the boat to Caladesi Island which was truly lovely. Certainly the loveliest Strombus alatus I’ve ever seen (hundreds of them), from gorgeous dark chestnut specimens through to a spineless wonder.  My daughter insisted that we throw back all the living specimens we came across so I literally threw back several hundred (my poor arm).  I found both C. spurus and C. floridanus and what I think is a fossil C. jaspideus, and thousands and thousands of Turbo castanea including one golden one. My daughter kept helping herself to the   Turbo castanea until I thought my back would break!  A few baby Pleuroploca gigantea and the regular Busycon and Olives. It was also nice  to find a few whole pairs of empty Macrocallista maculata (one of my favorite Bivalves to find) and large M. nimbosa. We also threw back maybe a dozen living members of each of these species.

Outside of the shelling as always it was great to see the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and bumping into Jose was wonderful. Sounds like the museum will have a fantastic new display of world records that I, unfortunately, missed. Also a chance to meet Larry Strange at his shop and talk shells was a fantastic plus.  Honeymoon island has a nice display of local shells including a 24 inch Horse Conch.

And just to add,  my 2:00 am stomp around Bowman’s Beach (Sanibel) scared up a Bobcat! Quite a plus.  A very enjoyable trip!

Doug Stemke – Via Conch-L


Peter Clarkson famous Cypraea collector killed by sharks.

The shell world is devastated by the loss of Peter Clarkson.  February 15 he passed away in horror after a brutal attack by two great whites!  Clarkson was the co author of the for all of us famous book Australia’s Spectacular Cowries. He was a very renowned Zoila diver and instrumental in the knowledge in Australian cowries we have today.

I hope all of us will not take it for granted anymore to be able to buy nice Zoila just like that. They sometimes come with a price. A very high price! The life of a good man! Let us all take a minute to pray for the family, close friends and admirers he is leaving behind.

I have never had the pleasure and honor of meeting Peter Clarkson in person. I’d wish I had. But one of my close friends has known him very well and said it was a privilege to have known such an honest, straight forward and great person. “There are very few of his kind,” he told me.

Peter Clarkson died while doing what he loved the most: diving for shells and being in the ocean. Let us remember him every time we look at his wonderful book or at one of our Zoila!

Submitted by Willy Van Damme of Belgium, a leading seller of rare cypraea.

Additional information: The Australian press stated, “It has been reported that the diver was returning to the surface … when two sharks, believed to be great whites, have grabbed him.” The shark attack occurred, near Perforated Island, about 25km from Coffin Bay. Clarkson was a commercial abalone diver.

Shell of the Month April 2011

In honor of Easter, the April Shell of the Month is the Egg Cowrie, Ovula ovum, Linne 1758 along with its sister shell, the Elongated Egg Cowrie, also known at the Spindle Shell, Volva volva, Linne 1758.  Side by side they certainly make for an odd couple!

These are members of the family Ovulidae and are closely related to Cypraea.  Although this is a fairly large family, the majority of the specie are small shells with many under 10mm in size. The ovum and the volva are clearly the giants of the clan.

Ovula Ovum is a porcelan white shell that has a great range in size, from 32mm all the way up to 120mm. Our specimen is on the smaller end.  The animal is black with a mantle that fully covers the shell. It is at home in corals and soft corals throughout the Indo-Pacific range.  This specimen was found grazing on soft corals in near Port Moresby, New Guinea

Volva volva has an even greater size range running up to a whopping 186mm. Volva volva although normally white will sometimes be found in rose, pink or even a pale purple shade. The extremities are drawn out into long canals and the shape too is variable. Our specimen is large in size, typical in shape and color. Its mantle is white with long tan to brown papillae ringed with a darker shade. Our specimen comes from a coastal reef off Negros Island in the Philippines.  Both shells were donated by Richard Kent

Shell of the Month February 2011

This set of Heart Cockles is most appropriate for February Shell of the Month as we honor St. Valentine. Corculum cardissa, Linné 1758, is a most unusual bivalve. It’s anatomy is rotated ninety degrees. The valves open down the center rather than at the sides.
Corculum live in sandy bottom where sea grasses grow, often in dense colonies. They attach themselves to the sand with a byssus thread. They are most prevalent in the offshore waters of Cebu, Philippines, but range north to Malaysia.
Splitters divide this shell into multiple species. “Shells of the Philippines” by Springsteen and Leobrera site 5 different specie but admit they might be “morphophenotypes of a single taxon.”
Heart cockles are attractive shells, coming in a variety of delicate pastels, often solid, sometimes speckled, with pale yellow to white being most common with orange, pink and lavender harder to come by. They are seeming endless in variety of heart shapes. Average size is about 40mm but they come smaller and rarely from 55 to 65mm. The heart shells in this set range in size from about 35 to 55mm. The top left and top right are often sold as Corculum impressum, Lightfoot 1786. All came from off the coast of Cebu and were collected in 2010.

Shell of the Month January 2011

Set of seven Terebra, from left to right

Terebra areolata, Link 1807 off shore shallow water in sand Nha Trang, Viet Nam

Terebra dimidiata, Linné 1758 20′ in sand  Nago Bay, Okinawa 1985

Terebra pertusa, Born 1778 diver 7-10m  Olango Island, Cebu, Philippines 2008

Terebra crenulata, Linné 1758 40′ in sand night SCUBA Tuamotus, French Polynesia 2000

Terebra nebulosa, Sowerby, 1825 diver 7-10m Olango Island, Cebu, Philippines 2008

Terebra, subulata, Linné 1767 in sand at night Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Terebra guttata, Roding, 1798 15-10m inside reef by diver Balayon Bay Batangas, Philippines 2007

Terebra are closely related to Conus and Turris. They all have a poison apparatus to kill their prey. Terebra feed mainly marine worms. Terebra live worldwide, with most species in the Indo-Pacific region.  Terebra is one of four genera in Terebridae, the others being Hastula, Duplicaria and Impages.  Many of the smaller species are near impossible to identify. The largest specimen presented in this group just over 5″ and the smallest is 2 1/2″. Terebra maculata, LInné 1758, not offered here is far and away the largest growing Terebra reaching a size of 10″. In Florida we have Terebra taurinus, Lightfoot 1786 which grows to 5″ and Terebra floridanus, Dall, 1889 which grows to 3″ plus several dozen much smaller species.

Shell of the Month November 2010

Cypraea aurantium, Gmelin 1791. In the  Fiji and Solomon Islands the Golden Cowrie is a symbol of power and rank for chieftains. Until recently it was considered very rare. Then its habitat was discovered and now reaches the market in sufficient numbers. The cowrie lives in deep water inside of caves which explains why beached specimens are seldom seen. When Philippine divers first learned where to find the golden cowrie they kept the habitat and locations secret to preserve the value. Until recently very few specimens came with data. Although available now to collectors, gem quality specimens are extremely rare. Something in the growth cycle cause stress marks as the animal reaches maturity and virtually every specimen has a few growth lines, often making the shell ugly.  Our specimen, while not a gem is has minimal growth lines that do not distract. The specimen is from the collection of Richard Kent.

Cypraea aurantium, Gmelin 1791, Collected under ledge inside cave by hookah diver at 25 to 30 meters deep, night time, off Prieto Diaz, Albay Gulf. Philippines 2006. Size about 3 1/2″ or 90mm