Seashells of Galveston, Texas
There is beauty in all of nature's wonders. Please join us as we explore the treasures of Galveston Bay.
- What is a Malocologist? Conchologist? A malacologist is a person who studies the animals that live inside of mollusks. A conchologist is a person who collects and studies the shells of mollusks.
- What supplies are needed for shell collecting? Sun hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, small strainer, plastic bags or pill vials, small shovel, sun glasses, canvas shoes, small bucket, pad, pencil
- If you visit Galveston's beaches, please do not take shells that have live animals in them.
- When is the best time for shell collecting? Many believe that the best shell collecting in our region is in the winter after a "blue norther." Some say that the morning is the best time for shell collecting while others believe that the perfect time is right after a storm.
- To help our friends identify seashells found in the Galveston Bay Area, we have designed these web pages. Compare the shell that you have to the photos of the shells in our web collection. Shells can be divided into two major categories: univalves and bivalves. It will be helpful to decide if you have found a univalve or a bivalve. Univalves are the shells of gastropods. They are one piece and usually have a spiral.They are assymetrical. Examples are conches and whelks. Bivalves have two distinct shells joined by a ligament. Clams and oysters are examples of bivalves. Some are symmetrical.
Hay's Rock Shell
Lightning Whelk Eggcase
Shark's Eye or Moon Snail
Dwarf Surf Clam
Giant Atlantic Cockle
Saw-Tooth Pen Shell
- Encrusting Marine Organisms
Oyster Piddock Borings in Rock
Sponge Boring in Shell
Toredo Clam Boring in Wood
- What is the best way to store seashells? Keep shells away from direct sunlight and extreme heat. Shell collectors can help scientists study the health of mollusks by recording the following information about the shells: common name, scientific name, date found, and exact location of where the shell was found. Pill vials and small plastic boxes are a excellent containers to store seashells. It is a good idea to put a small number on each shell and keep a log notebook of the data pertaining to that shell using the number to identify it.
NASA Space Shuttle Photos of Galveston Bay:
Galveston Bay, Texas City Dike
Rainwater Run-off into Galveston Bay
(Houston is at the top of these photos; scroll down to view Galveston Island, Galveston Bay, Bolivar Peninsula, and the Texas City Dike. Use the back button of your browser if you want to return to this page from the NASA Space Shuttle photos of Galveston Bay.)
Photos: The seashells photographed for these web pages are in The Dr. Don Bass Galveston Bay Regional Shell and Geologic Collection donated to Clifton Middle School.
Resources: Beachcombers's Guide to the Gulf Coast Marine Life by Nick Fotheringham and Susan Brunenmeister, Eyewitness Handbooks: Shells by S. Peter Dance, Peterson Field Guides: Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores by Eugene H. Kaplan, Science Hobby Book of Shell Collecting by Miriam Gilbert, Simon & Schuster's Guide to Shells by Bruno Sabelli, Texas Monthly Field Guide to Shells of the Texas Coast by Jean Andrews, Texas Shells by Jean Andrews
Acknowledgements: The seashell specimens in The Dr. Don Bass Collection were the result of a joint project of The Galveston Bay Foundation, 17324A Highway 3, Webster, Texas 77598 and The Geology Program of the College of the Mainland, 1200 Amburn Drive, Texas City, 77591 to help students better understand and appreciate the marine life that they may see in the bays, estuaries, rivers, and beaches in the Galveston Bay Region.
Special Thanks: To Dr. Don Bass and Chuck Buddenhagen of the College of the Mainland for their encouragement and support with this project.
Page Design: These web pages were created by Mrs. Holzapfel's Sixth Grade Clifton Middle School Computer Literacy students using ClarisWorks word processing documents saved as text files and then converted to HTML.
Other Sites Related to Seashells:
The Assateague Naturalist...Seashells
Bryozoa User's Guide
Conchologists of America
Conchology by Guido T. Poppe. Select "Fun with Shells" at this site to view "Old Books," "Fake Shells," "Edible Mollusks,"and "Primitive Art."
These web pages were made possible through the GirlTECH Program, a teacher training and student technology council program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center and the RGK Foundation. I appreciate the technical help of Debbie Campbell, Philip Blaiklock, and the expertise of everyone behind the scenes at Rice University.
First published: November 15, 1997
Revised on: January 17, 1998
Please send comments to:
Jane A. Holzapfel, Teacher Technologist
Clifton Middle School, Apple Distinguished School
Houston Independent School District
6001 Golden Forest Drive
Houston, Texas 77092-2359
(713) 613-2516 x396
Latitude N 29 degrees 50' 33.8"
Longitude W 95 degrees 28' 43.2"