[video] Wildlife in the tidal pool, Sanibel Island

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I spent Memorial Day on Sanibel Island, visiting with a friend who has been vacationing here from the Midwest. Late in the afternoon, we decided to rouse ourselves from the comfort of beers under the umbrella to check out the tidal pool that was forming as the tide went out, and see what we could find. We each found some nice shells that pleased us, but also something I’ve never seen before – a fair quantity of live lettered olives were creating their little snail-trails along the bottom of the pool.

The lettered olive is a gastropod whose Latin name is Oliva sayana. The most interesting thing about the lettered olive is that, when they capture prey, they burrow under the sand and take it below ground to snack on it.

If you are going to collect lettered olive shells, here’s how to tell which are the best specimens. First, of course, check to ensure that the shell is empty! Collection of live shells is not permitted on Sanibel, and although it might be permitted where you are going shelling, it’s just plain not nice and Karma’s gonna get you for it! Next, check the tippy-top of the shell – it should be intact and pointy. A lot of the time, when an olive shell has been rolling around in the surf for a while, this is the first thing to go and there’s a hole instead of a point.

Finally, you want to check for shineyness. The olive is naturally shiney and slick-feeling because of this brilliant finish, but if it has been rolling around a while, the shine is gone. DO NOT BLEACH YOUR SHINEY OLIVES – they will lose their shine. Plain water is fine for an olive – it’s pretty shallow and they tend to not be stinkers, so don’t worry about deep cleaning. Also, do not be concerned if the opening/aperture is clogged with debris; when you get home, you can just pop that stuff out with a knife.

Here’s some video I took last weekend of an olive in the tidal pool. NOTE to email subscribers – this is video and probably won’t come through on the email. Please click through to the blog to view.

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11 thoughts on “[video] Wildlife in the tidal pool, Sanibel Island”

  1. I’m a little late in seeing this, but I was SO excited — I have seen so many amazing things on sanibel, I can’t wait until it’s my turn to see this!

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