Florida Shell Guide

The beaches on Anna Maria Island are perfect for shelling and beach combing. The best times to look for shells are after a high tide, after a storm, in the morning, and during the winter months. Sand dollars are easily found during low tide on the beach nearby the Sandbar Restaurant.
The following shells are commonly found on Florida's beaches. The Junonia is more rare, and is considered a special find by beachcombers.

Ceriths Shells

The Ceriths, also known as horned shells, are commonly found on the beach and vary in size and ornament. Common varieties: Varicose, Grass, Dark, Stocky, Fly Speck, and West Indian False.


Worm Snail Shells

Worm snail looks like spaghetti stuck to a rock. Sometimes billions of worm tubes can build an actual reef. A large reef like that forms a barrier to a group of small islands called the Ten Thousand Islands.

Worm snail shells

Spotted Slipper Shells

Spotted slipper shells are often called "boat" shells. When upside down, it looks like an old sailing ship with a flat deck. After 2 years of floating loose, they will attach themselves to a rock or empty shell.

Spotted slipper shells


Limpets there are 35 different species and sub species of Limpets in North America. Keyhole Limpets have an opening in the top of the shell. Limpets shells are conical or cap shaped without spiral whorls.

Keyhole Limpet

Turkey Wing Shells

Turkey wings are easy to identify. Because the shells vaguely look like outstretched bird wings they're called Turkey Wings. Shell is a little over two inches long, oblong, with one side more or less straight.

Turkey Wing Shells


Wentletraps, staircase shells, or ladder shells, are notable for their intricately shell structure. Most species of wentletrap are white, and have a porcelain-like appearance. These shells are prized by collectors.


Calico Scallop Shells

Brightly colored, fan-shaped shells of some scallops, with a radiating fluted pattern, are valued by shell collectors. Up to 2 inches in length, patterns on this clam are diverse and beautiful.

Calico Scallop Shells

Florida Spiny Jewelbox

 About 1-1/2 inches in length, the Florida Spiny Jewel Box is found along the coast of Florida. It is white; the interior may show tinges of pink or red. The shell itself is thick and heavy for its size.

Florida spiny jewelbox

Jingle Shells

Jingle Shells are wrinkled and polished looking and come in a variety of translucent colors from shades of orange to dark gray, with white and off-white being common as well. They make a jingling sound when shaken.

Jingle Shells