Mollusks

Common shells of Padre Island National Seashore
Here are some of the seashells that can be found along Padre Island.  Note that only some of these are found frequently and sometimes shell-hunting can be poor.

NPS photo

The following species of mollusks have been documented at the National Seashore. The common name is followed by the scientific name.

Mercenaria campechiensis –Southern Quahog is the common shell of the shell beaches south of the 50MM.

Chione cencellata - Cross-barred Venus

Cyrtopleura costata –Angel Wing

Anadara transversa –Transverse Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara brasiliana –Incongruous Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara chemnitzii –Chemnitz Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara ovalis –Blood Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara baughmani –Baughman Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Area imbricata - Mossy Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Stramonita haemastoma floridana –Florida Rocksnail

Fasciolaria hunteria –Banded Tulip

Distorsio clathrata –Atlantic Distorsio

Strombus alatus –Florida Fighting Conch

Policines duplicatus –Shark's Eye Moonsnail

Semicassis granulata –Scotch Bonnet

Busycon contrarium –Lightning Whelk

Mercenaria campechiensis –Southern Quahog is the common shell of the shell beaches south of the 50MM.

Chione cencellata - Cross-barred Venus

Cyrtopleura costata –Angel Wing

Anadara transversa –Transverse Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara brasiliana –Incongruous Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara chemnitzii –Chemnitz Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara ovalis –Blood Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Anadara baughmani –Baughman Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Area imbricata - Mossy Ark (Big Shell Beach)

Stramonita haemastoma floridana –Florida Rocksnail

Fasciolaria hunteria –Banded Tulip

Distorsio clathrata –Atlantic Distorsio

Strombus alatus –Florida Fighting Conch

Policines duplicatus –Shark's Eye Moonsnail

Semicassis granulata –Scotch Bonnet

Busycon contrarium –Lightning Whelk

Source: Padre Island National Seashore Field Guide. 1972. Corpus Christi Geological Society.

To learn more about finding these shells on the beaches of Padre Island National Seashore, check out our page on Beachcombing.

 
Buoyancy chamber of the Ram's Horn squid
Buoyancy chamber of the Ram's Horn squid.

NPS Photo

One of the most interesting mollusks to appear on Padre Island beaches does not actually inhabit the island or its waters: the Ram's Horn squid. These small creatures live at depths of about 300 ft. to 3,000 ft. (the deepest water in the park is about 12 feet). However, after they die, the small buoyancy chambers they use for adjusting their depth in the water often wash up onto our beaches. They look very much like miniature ram's horns and thus give the squid its name.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480

Phone:

(361) 949-8068
This is the primary phone number for the Malaquite Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore.

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