Junonia Shells on Sanibel Island
Last week, we shared the story of Reynolds, a young guest at Sundial, finding her first Junonia. This inspired us to do some research on more recent Junonia finds around the islands and share our favorite stories with you.
The Sanibel Captiva Island Reporter, Islander, publish stories of junonia finds every time they are reported to publication. Since mid-April, 10 junonias have been found between Sanibel and Captiva Islands!
Big Find for Small Shell Lover at Sundial
“Six-year-old Reynolds from Atlanta, Georgia is visiting Sanibel Island with her family this week. She found her Junonia on Tuesday, July 12 at 11:15 AM in front of the Sundial Resort. She was in knee-deep water and paddling out to boogie board. She has been researching shells with her Sanibel shell guide and immediately knew how rare of a treasure she found when she saw it. She screamed “I can’t believe I actually found it!” as she ran up the beach to her parents.”
Brother and Sister Pick Up Twin Junonias on the Same Day
While on the island vacationing for Mother’s Day, Peyton and Tanner Lang, both of Cape Coral, each discovered a junonia within 20 minutes of each other. “Madison Lang reported that her family had decided to spend the weekend at the Castaway Cottages for Mother’s Day. Her siblings found both of the shells within 20 minutes of each other in the sand, where the waves were hitting a shelf on the beach that was created from the heavy surf the storms brought in. She reported that there were lots of shells poking out of the shelf and they pulled each junonia out by seeing a little bit of it poking out. Lang added that her family loves shelling and it is a fun family activity for them, so it was a very exciting day!”
Dog Sniffs Out Rare Shell Find
Beach walk lover and avid sheller Tater, a 3-year-old rescue greyhound, found a junonia one morning near Beach Access 3 on West Gulf Drive on Sanibel. “His mother, Melinda Welch, reported that he is always on the hunt for the shell when he is on the island. Tater splits his time between Sanibel and Brooklyn, New York. This is his first junonia, and while it is not perfect, he and his mother love it all the same. She added that Tater’s hobbies include walks on the beach with his posse, napping upside down, and begging for people food with his uncle Atticus, a fellow adopted greyhound. He will be on the lookout for a Scotch bonnet next!”
40-Year Dream Comes True
“Linda Simmons, of South Charleston, West Virginia, found a junonia on June 13 at Blind Pass on Captiva. She reported that she noticed a partially buried shell with four spots showing. Simmons used her hand to scoop it up. She added that she could not believe she had found a completely beautiful junonia after 40-plus years.”
Junonia shells are created by the junonia snail, a small predator that lives its life in water 60-120 ft deep, typically 40-60 feet offshore. It is because of this habitat that the shells are rare and live junonias are virtually never encountered on the beach. The shells make their way to our shores with the help of powerful tides, storms, and even hurricanes. This method of travel is also why a number of junonias that wash up show signs of damage (notice the cracks shown on the shell in the header photo of this blog post). Happy shelling and best of luck in your mission to find this prized shell!