How to Identify Seashells on the Beach

Seashells. From the boldly defined large shells that were once homes to some crustaceans and critters, to the small and subtle shells with a dazzling design, shells have become remarkable items to collect. Fortunately for you, Siesta Key is filled with them.

Here is your intuitive seashell identification guide when you visit Siesta Key’s beaches. You can easily reach the sands right outside Siesta Key vacation condos and seek as many different shell types as you possibly can.

With the details below, learn how to identify different types of seashells off the shores of Siesta Key, including common and wonderful finds as well as some special and rare Florida seashells.

How to Identify Seashells on the Beach

Common Shells

Some of the most common seashells include the Florida Welk, the Cerithium, and the Baby Conch. These lovely finds are similar in design. They have a long tube and a spiral. The Cerithium is the longest, giving the shell an almost knife-like edge. The Baby Conch is your traditional conch-styled shell, with a soft brown and white coloration.

The Fighting Conch is quite a story, and probably the most aggressive-looking shell you can find on Siesta Key. It is big, spiky, and strong. This conch shell features elongated spikes, usually with a rounded edge, that seem to push out of the shell. This was a defensive mechanism developed over time to protect the sea snail inside.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the adorable Leafy Jewel Box. Its powdery white complexion makes it difficult to spot. Finding one intact is also quite difficult, as it is a delicate shell and flat shell. The Lettered Olive Shell is also a prized find. This shell has a nice smoothed exterior. A swirl of browns, whites, and blacks encircle the shell and make it a small spectacle worth holding onto.

The above shells only scratch the surface of what you can find captured in the Siesta Key sands. A full seashell guide for the key includes Florida Scallops, various colored coquinas, the Rams Horn, smooth and white Angel Wings, and the emboldened and almost red Brown Cockle.

Wild Shells

If you search long enough, you are bound to come across some astonishing wild finds. You may have seen them in stores, but there’s nothing like finding your very own. Siesta Key has plenty of starfishes and sea urchins which have drifted to shore and dried up. You may even come across a crab shell. The Calico Crab Shell is one of the most attractive. Its dizzying design features bold blue spots outlined in a dark brown. Make sure any shells you take have no living organisms inside.

The kids will have a blast sifting through the sands on the lookout for some of the rarest Siesta Key shells. The beach is always in view. Easily walk down, check it out, soak in the sun, and stroll on back to the air-conditioning (and view!).

To have better luck learning the types of shells found on the beach, you can print out a handy visual guide. This way, you can find out exactly what you have found without any doubt.

A visual guide can help you and the family match your finds and decipher the names of seashells. We can help you have an amazing time at the beach, exploring the soothing sands for some spectacular finds.

Play at the Beach

Looking to get the kids equipped for a day at the beach? Consider some of the many affordable and family-friendly activities on the expansive Siesta Key beaches.

You can kayak, surf, play volleyball, and more right on the gulf. Better yet, the gulf waters are known for their cool-and-collected attitude and calm waves, which is what has attracted so many families with young kids to the beaches in the first place.

Check out our monthly rentals on Siesta Key. We offer stunning views and incredible experiences. Bring the kids along for an adventure along the quiet, white sand beaches of this gulf side escape.

Contact Us

Peppertree Bay Association
6056 Midnight Pass Road
Sarasota, Florida USA 34242

T 941.349.7777
F 941.346.0371


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