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  • José H. Leal

The 2023 Live Mollusk Count

On Sunday, January 22, volunteers and staff from the National Shell Museum and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation completed the 2023 Live Mollusk Count. The count took place along the Gulf side on the eastern end of Sanibel Island, at low tide, including 27 participants. National Shell Museum Science Director & Curator José H. Leal observed that “the 2023 Shell Count achieved very good results. The number of participants, methods, and count area lend themselves to comparisons with the January 2022 Live Mollusk Count promoted by the Sanibel Captiva Shell Club; initial numbers hint that mollusk numbers seem to be near normal levels for many species.” Contrasts with data gathered in 2022 will help provide insights on the general effect of Hurricane Ian on local populations of sand-inhabiting mollusks. The species more often sighted at the count were Giant Cockles, Florida Fighting Conchs, and Pear Whelks. (Giant Cockles and Florida Fighting Conchs were also the most abundantly observed in 2022.) Image of Lightning Whelk taken during the count by Sam Ankerson. #sccf_swfl, #sanibelcaptivashellclub #saninbelshellclub #livemolluskcount


Lightning Whelk at Sunrise, photo by Sam Ankerson.

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