The Florida Spiny Jewel Box
The Florida Spiny Jewel Box, Arcinella cornuta Conrad, 1866, is a relatively common species in our area, and loose valves may be found after storms on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. As it happens with many bivalve species, whole shells, or paired valves, however, are more difficult to find. Spiny Jewel Boxes show delicate and variable color patterns, and the species name derives from the hollow spines present on the shell.
The complete shells shown in the photos were collected by Smoky Payson (left, found in 2016) and Jim Scatterday (right, found in 2007), on the east end of Sanibel. The shell on the right had been bored by a chimney clam, whose dwelling can be seen on the bottom part of the shell. Photos by José H. Leal.