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Shell identification

 

 

Who can resist a strandline full of shells? Well, I certainly can't, that's for sure. They are the most fantastic things to find, especially when they are whole and unbroken - exotic shapes, striking colours, and an amazing history.

 

However, it is not always easy to identify one shell from another. I have tried to make it a little easier to start the process by dividing shells I have found into three groups:

         Shells with a whorl            A shell made of two halves             Everything else

These are all sea shells made around a spiral shape. They can be round, long, pointed or snub but still have that distinctive whorl. 

 

Click here for shells with a whorl

Shells made of two halves are known as bi-valves. They tend to be flatter and with fewer features than those with a whorl. We often, of course, only find one half.

Click here for the shells made of two halves

And this category is every other shape of shell. They are not two halves and they do not have a spiral but anything else goes.

 

Click here for the odd-shaped shells

 

When the snails die, their shells can be washed up onto the beach giving us a great look at their beautiful shapes and colours. if shells are not picked up by avid beach combers, these shells are broken down over time becoming part of the sand.