The beautiful seashells of the Ryukyu Islands.
It all started in 1989, I went to a friend’s house and saw some beautiful seashells displayed on a counter-top. My first thought was that they were fake or man-made. The intricate design of the Venus comb Murex shell caught my eye. I was fascinated by the design and wanted to learn more about the animal that produced this beautiful shell.
I continued to collect, photograph and read more about marine mollusks from the Ryukyu Islands. I eventually started contributing my collection samples to worldwide museums, scientists, specialists and images for various scientific publications. I currently do not collect shells anymore but enjoy photographing the marine snails in their natural habitat.
General rules to shell collecting
- Be respectful of the environment.
- Only collect dead specimens
- Avoid over collecting sea-shells
- If you turn over rocks, place them back in the original position
Below are some of my favorite shells found on Okinawa.
Avoid handling the venomous cone shells. They are often found reef walking during low tide.
The trident trumpet is sought after for its beauty. This marine snail is one of the few natural predators of the crown of thorn starfish. This large snail also feeds on a variety of starfish as well.
If you enjoy eating shellfish, the Strawberry conch is the most popular side dish here on Okinawa. They are abundant in our waters and local fisherman discard the shells back into the ocean after consumption.
A huge pile of the discarded shells at a local fishing port in Yomitan.
Sinezona milleri (Geiger & Sasaki , 2009) – Named for the collector of the type specimens, Shawn Miller of Nagahama, Okinawa, for his continued support in malacological research by providing marine sediment samples of Okinawa.
Hemilienardia shawnmilleri. A new species named after naturalist and underwater photographer Shawn Miller. Described by Shawn Wiedrick.
Have a great day!