The Alphabet Cone

  Alphabet Cone The Alphabet Cone is one of my personal favorites. It's fairly rare, but not as rare as the mighty Junonia. The one in the photo came rolling in with a wave. You have to be quick when that happens. But when you make the capture, it's magical. Unlike the Junonia which lies deep in the ocean, the Alphabet Cone (Conus spurius) is typically found in shallow coastal water and also in sandy or muddy substrates near the shore.  It gets its name from the markings on the outside of the cone that resemble letters of the alphabet and punctuation marks. The colors range from yellow to dark brown. They have a hearty shell with a narrow opening. The ones that I've found have all been intact, which is always a treat.  Since they are not deep sea dwellers and prefer the shallow waters of the coastal area so they can find their prey, you need to exercise caution. They kill their prey by using a venomous harpoon-like tooth, which paralyzes them first. Their preferred prey are

Welcome to Beachcombing Bliss

Welcome to my new blog where I'm going to share my beachcombing adventures in and around Anna Maria Island, Florida . If you're not familiar with the island, we're located on the Gulf of Mexico (the western side of Florida), where the sand is white and the water is emerald green to turquoise -- depending on the time of year.  Egg casing and Lightning Whelk  Today I want to share with you about one of my favorite shells -- the lightning whelk. It starts from an egg casing (the creature and the shell) and can grow up to 16 inches long. As babies, before they break through their egg casing, they're called a protoconch .   Lightning whelks are unique in that they open on the left side -- most shells open from the right side. My favorite color is chocolate brown and I've collected them from the size of a pencil head eraser to about 16 inches.  Four different species can be found in Florida waters and they're all beautiful.  Whelks are carnivorous and they like the te