Shells that don't belong there

Glenn
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Glenn
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Joined: April 3rd, 2012, 8:54 pm

December 1st, 2012, 10:09 pm #1

I'm located on Long Island in New York, and today I went back to one of my favorite spots to see if it still existed after hurricane Sandy. (Its changed a bit, but its still there with sandflats, lagoon, and mudflats.) I was pleasantly surprised to find something Ive never found before so its a good day ! Unfortunately its not going to help my location collection....what's a Caracolus marginella doing at Jones Beach? A land snail, local to Puerto Rico not a Long Island beach.
And about a month ago I found one valve of arca imbricata on the north shore of the Long Island Sound in Penfield (Fairfield) Connecticut....perhaps little johnny had it in his sand bucket from when he visited Nana and Pop-pop in North Carolina last month? Not to mention the obvious aquarium dump of West Indian and South Florida shells I came across in the Hamptons last spring...
So I guess I'm just questioning--is this a local thing or do you all come across "stuff that doesn't belong" where you live....and whats the best thing you found that doesn't belong ?
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csturm
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csturm
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Joined: November 29th, 2012, 1:00 am

December 2nd, 2012, 1:31 pm #2

I believe that many of us have come across the situation of such "range extensions" with dead collected material. If it is a reasonable extension, I will list the locality on the label; however, it is listed as locality dubious. If at some future point in time it is found that this taxa has extended its range, then I will correct the label.

Remember, in some areas there have been claims of "salting the beach". A hotel owner or business will dump shells on a beach, often purchased and from the Indo-Pacific, to attract unwary shell collectors. I have no direct evidence of this just told that it happens.

Then there was the two shells that a friend on mine collected in Washington State which were definitely a southern Pacific taxon. The other shells that he sent to me were from the Washington area. I was a bit excited as this would have been a true range extension; however, I couldn't explain how these critters would survive the winter in the cold water of the northern climes. Further investigation, that is interrogation of my friend, uncovered that they were collected; however, they were collected outside a restaurant, a good half-mile from the shore. Case closed, determined to be put there as decorations.

Then there were the green lipped mussels that I found in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. These were fresh dead specimens. Case was solved when I found a Thai restaurant around the corner :-o



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Susan J. Hewitt
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Susan J. Hewitt
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Joined: May 22nd, 2011, 8:18 pm

February 23rd, 2013, 12:28 am #3

I found a valve of Arctica islandica at the edge of the freshwater Reservoir in Central Park, Manhattan and a shell of Monetaria moneta in the swimming pool at the end of my block.

I have found a few West Mexican shells on beaches in San Diego which I believe were not range extensions, but just someone "recycling" shells back to "any old beach".

I heard from Jose Leal of BMSM that Indo-Pacific shells are indeed sometimes found on the beach in Sanibel, Florida. He spoke to someone who lived right on the beach and she thought it was fun to sprinkle cheap exotics out on the beach. She liked to sit in her living room with binoculars and watch happy shellers find the exotic shells and get all excited. I think she had no idea there was a downside to this!

I believe that most people don't know there are such things as faunal zones. They think that if you have a bowl of shells and wish to redecorate, it's perfectly OK to just dump all the shells out onto the beach, any beach, no matter where the shells originally came from.

On the island of Montserrat, West Indies, a local bar owner proudly showed me two shells of Cypraea tigris that he found on the beach after a storm. I did not have the heart to point out to him that both ends of each shell had been neatly sliced off to turn them into napkin holders! I imagine they fell off a yacht! :D
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Don68
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Don68
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Joined: January 18th, 2012, 9:34 pm

February 24th, 2013, 3:27 pm #4

In December 2012, while I'm assessing the erosion damage at Coral Cove Park from Hurricane Sandy, I happen upon a mother posing her (4-6?) year old daughter by the rocks with a bowl of sea shells. Some of the shells are strewn on the sand; I can tell immediately they're non-native. While I'm observing them, the girl tells me they're hers. I reply, "I know; I'm just admiring them." Of course, I'm concerned some will be left behind after the photo shoot. When I complete my beach inspection an hour later, the shells that were strewn earlier were still there. I scooped them up to prevent the very problem to which you refer. Ignorance doesn't always result in bliss.
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thanrose
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thanrose
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Joined: February 5th, 2015, 6:26 pm

February 17th, 2015, 4:14 pm #5

Interesting reports, all.

Glad to know that others view this the way I do. I understand it's usually innocent littering, or playful, but it's confusing. Not as dangerous as dumping unwanted reptiles in the 'Glades, or aquarium life in any waterway, but we understand the potential.

Yeah, I've seen shell dumps before, smallish piles of souvenir shells, or what seemed to be unusual scattering of shells in the wrong terrain. I've also seen shells out of their usual range that I thought might simply be brought by chance to my feet. As with abandoned fishing line, or plastic bags in the dunes, I usually pick them up to dispose of later.
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Tom H
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Tom H
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Joined: March 8th, 2007, 4:04 pm

October 10th, 2017, 2:12 am #6

I have a very small (1") Lightning Whelk I found years ago at Dewey Beach, Delaware. My guess is due to it's light weight it probably came up in the Gulf Stream. That is probably an extension since the northern reach for these is N.C.
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