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Sea Shells UK | Common Types of UK sea shells

Sea Shells UK Introduction

Seal Shells UK- There are around 100,000 shells around the globe. But Sea Shells UK are historically famous. Therefore, I have decided to focus on different types of shells like rare shells, massive shells, and even a deadly shell.

The animals responsible for the production of the seashells in the guide comprise all Molluscs. This category of animals comprises snails, slugs, and mussels as well as squid, octopus, and Squid. Collectively Molluscs do not have skeletons which is why some have external shells that are hard for protection. In this article we are going to give a detail of Sea shells UK.

Classification of Sea Shells UK (Molluscs with shells)

Molluscs with shells can be classified into two categories: gastropods Sea Shells and bivalves Sea Shells.

1-Bivalves Sea Shells

Bivalves contain a shell that is divided into two halves. These are referred to as valves. The connecting ligament acts as an interlock between the valves in living animals. However, after death, the ligament begins to degrade and the two valves break in disintegration. Therefore, a shell that is empty washed up on the shore could be one valve. The identification of bivalve shells is based on the shape and colour.

2-Gastropods Sea Shells

Gastropods unlike bivalves possess an unbroken shell. They are primarily found on the rocky shores, on open rocks, as well as inside rock pools. Therefore, dead gastropod seashells could build up in gullies. Numerous gastropods possess spirally coiled shells. The identification of gastropod shells relies on the form of the mouth beneath and its number of spiral coils, and its shape.

Best beach for Sea shells UK

These are the best UK beaches to find UK Sea shells !

1) Barricane Beach – Devon UK
2) Cardigan Bay – Wales UK
3) Herne Bay – Kent UK
4) Lunan Bay – Scotland UK
5) Ruby Bay – Scotland UK
6) The Amber Coast – Suffolk UK
7) The Jurrasic Coast – Dorset UK
8) Tower Beach – London UK
9) Whitby and Runswick Bay – Yorkshire UK
10) White Park Bay – Northern Ireland UK

Types of UK Sea shells

Sea shells UK nameScientific name SizeColour & Shape
1Auger ShellTurritella communis55mm longBrownish- yellow to white in colour
2Banded Wedge Shell Donax vittatus35mm longColour varied from purple, yellow or orange
3Common Cockle ShellCerastoderma edule40mm longPale brown to grey in colour and off white inside
4Common Otter ShellLutraria lutraria 130mm longShades of brown outside and Off white inside
5Crab ShellBrachyura5mm to 250mm longBrown, olive-blue, grey or a muddy colour.
6Faroe Sunset ShellGari fervensis50mm longVariable colour
7Common Goose BarnacleLepas anatifera50mm longShiny white plates joined to gather with brown skin
8Common LimpetPatella vulgata60mm longPale brown in colour with a white pointed tip
9Common Mussel Mytilus edulis1cm to 10cmPurple/black with a pearly white interior
10Portuguese Oyster ShellCrassostrea gigas300mm longGrey surface and pearly white inside
11Peppery FurrowScrobicularia plana65mm acrossGrey-white colour and shiny white from inside
12Common Periwinkle Littorina littorea30mm in lengthBrown with a white lip
13Rayed Trough ShellMactra stultorum50mm in lengthOrange-brown colour
14Common Razor shellEnsis ensis130mm longCream and brown in colour
15Slipper LimpetCrepidula fornicata40mm longColour may vary usually orange-brown
16Striped Venus Shell Chamelea gallina50mm in size Pink outside and white inside
17Grey Top ShellGibbula cineraria15mm highPurple-grey in colour
18Dog WhelkNucella lapillus30mm to 6cmColour varies
19Sea PotatoEchinocardium cordatum4cm acrossDull whiteish colour 
20Sand Mason WormLanice conchilega300mm longYellow, pink and brownish
21Netted Dog WhelkHinia reticulata30mm long Variety of orange, yellow, brown and black

1- Auger Shell

This sea shells UK are long, slim with a sharply pointed cone. The shell’s colour ranges from brownish yellow to white and is often spotted with some lilac on the bottom, and can grow as high as 3 cm in length and 1 centimetre wide. 

The aperture in the shell is tiny and small in size. The operculum has bristles that are pinnate. The snail’s foot is tiny, and the flesh is buff with dark streaks and spots and there are white marks on the siphon, tentacles and the foot. The UK sea shell species commonly found throughout Britain and Ireland.

2- Sea Shells UK Banded Wedge

This Sea Shells UK Banded Wedge Shell also known as Donax Vittatus. It has a wedge-shaped shell, up to 3.8 cm in length with umbones near the posterior edge. It is ornamented with bands of different colours and could be either orange, yellow or pink. 

The outer edge has tiny teeth to protect your shell against predators. The point at which the valves come together when shut. This Sea Shells UK species widespread along the entire British and Irish coastlines, but there are few records for the north-west region of England and a large portion from Ireland as well as Scotland.

Read in detail about Seaweeds UK

3- UK Sea Shell Common Cockle

This Sea Shells UK Common Cockle also known as, cerastoderma edule. It is 40mm long. It’s a species of saltwater edible bivalve, a marine Mollusc belonging to the family of Cardiidae . The common cockle’s hue is light brown to grey and is off-white inside.

It is found from west of the Barents Sea and northern Norway all the way to northern Norway, across the Iberian Peninsula, and south across the west coast of Africa up to Senegal. The Common cockles Sea Shells UK habitats are found on sandy and muddy shores that lie between the low and high tide line, and are often located in estuaries.

4- Common Otter Sea Shell UK

The Common Otter sea shells UK are known also as Lutraria. It is a large bivalve marine species belonging to the family of Mactridae and is 130mm long. The Otter shell is found on all British coastlines, but is most commonly found in south Wales and is located on beaches with long sands. 

The typical colour of Sea Shells UK species is white with brown at the edges. Blues and oranges are sometimes found as high as 6 inches. The species burrows into the sand and mud down to 100m.

5- Sea Shells UK Crab

The Sea Shells is on the back of the crab comprised of a hard bone known as Chitin. Chemically, chitin is a polymer of an amino sugar , N-acetylglucosamines, which is a feedstock for production of pharmaceutical compounds and functional polymers. 

The crabs shells found throughout the water of Northern Europe, Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean.

6- Faroe Sunset Sea Shells UK

This Sea Shells UK is thin and fragile. The shell is twice as long as the depth. It is able to reach 5 cm in length. It has an abundance of prominent concentric ridges. One of the most notable features is the keel that starts at the apex, and then extending through one of the opposite corners. 

It is characterized by a long and thin siphon. It is buried beneath mixed sand and gravel within Subtidal Zone. This species of Sea Shells UK found at North Point, Ynyslas, Ceredigion.

Read a detail guide on Sea worms UK

7- UK Sea Shells Common Goose Barnacle

The Sea Shells UK Goose barnacles reside on rocks and ropes, ships, or flotsam that is floating in the ocean. Also known as gooseneck barnacle.

They have an incredibly long, fleshy stem that is shaped like a neck of black. Up to 5cm. They can be found along the coastal areas of the west and south-west coasts in the UK in particular in the aftermath of storms.

8- Sea Shells UK Common Limpet

The Sea Shells UK Common limpets are cone-shaped shells that are commonly found tightly clamped to the sides of rockpools. They measure 4 centimetres in length. Moving around on rocks and eating algae with their sturdy tongue. 

Their tongue is among the most powerful in the world. The common limpet is characterized by conical, greyish shell, and is slightly bigger than the two other species. There are three similar types of limpets found in UK shores.

9- Common Mussel Sea Shells UK

The common mussel Sea Shells UK can be identifiable by its huge oval, black/bluish shell. Mussels clog the shore or in shallow water and can be seen all year long. The most well-known shell, nearly triangular in form and blue-ish grey in colour and with concentric lines. 

They also serve as a source of food for a variety of creatures such as Starfish, Flatfish, Crabs and Dog whelks. Common Mussel are found all over the UK coasts.

10- Portuguese Oyster Sea Shells UK

The Portuguese Oyster Sea Shells UK is former long and narrow, almost like the shape of a shoe-horn with the hinge at the narrow end. This shells can reach up to 6½ inches in length.

The Portuguese oysters had grown in situ from larvae which means they have been developed in the waters of the river and creeks. This shell was introduced in the 1970s. The species is usually found in coastal river mouths and estuaries.

Read also Jellyfish UK

11- Peppery Furrow Sea Shells UK

The Peppery Furrow Sea Shells UK (Scrobicularia plana) Also called Sand Gaper. Peppery Furrow shell is a slim flattened and round. They are upto 6.5 cm in length. Peppery furrow shell an mollusc bivalve that is part of the family of Semelidae. It has numerous concentric grooves as well as ridges. More rough and flat in comparison to the Rayed Trough Shell.

This shell Color is off-white, greyish , or yellowish. The inner surface is white. The Peppery Furrow is commonly found in very high amounts on muddy or sandy coastlines along British as well as Irish shores. The valves are similar with two toothed cardinals on the left valve and another on the right.

12- Sea Shells UK Common Periwinkle 

The Common periwinkles Sea Shells UK have flat spires, columella that is pale, and measure approximately 20-25 millimetres long. This shell has a solid, muscular foot that enables them slide across the ground and also to rest solidly on the rocks even when waves are crashing against them. 

They are found along the coasts of the north-eastern region that lie in the Atlantic Ocean, including northern Spain, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and Russia.

13- Rayed Trough Shell

The scientific name of Rayed Trough Shell is Mactra Glauca. They are common and plentiful across the British coastline. This type of sea shells UK is fine and friable, mostly with cracks. It also features a broadly triangular thin, glossy shells that measure with a length of up to 115mm. When exposed to the sea it will burrow into clean sand, which can be as deep as 7cm.

14- The Common Razor Shell

The Common Razor shell is long and narrow. They are often found on our beaches usually after storms, however, the animals themselves are beneath the sand. The shell can be found on UK beaches and sand in Canada as well as northern Europe. 

The majority of the time, they are easy to recognize due to their distinctive razor shells and distinctive rectangular shells. The length of this types of sea shells UK is 20 centimetres long, and their life span is usually 10 years or more.

15- Slipper Limpet Shell

The Slipper Limpet is an oval slipper-shaped sea shells UK. It is normally pale creamy in colour and has blotches of orangey-red. Slipper limpets were found in North America, Atlantic to the UK and northern Europe too. But this type of shell doesn’t really belong to the UK.

The most biggest and oldest slipper limpets are always female but if the female Slipper Limpets die, then the largest male will turn into a female.

16- Striped Venus Shell 

The Striped Venus Shell grows up to 4 cm. They are found in Norway to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. They mostly feed on plankton that they obtain from water by filtering it. These unique shells live under the grounds of clean and muddy sand at a depth of between five and twenty metres.

This type of sea shells UK is off-white or cream in colour and often tinted pale yellow but sometimes you can see the pink streaks. They are found in Studland Bay, Dorset UK.

17- Grey Top Shell

The Grey Top shell which is sometimes referred to as Gibbula cinerariaas has a size of 12 millimetres tall. It is characterized by smaller dark grey stripe. The hole that is under the shell is tiny. The Grey Top sea shells UK found in tidal zone as low as 130 meters. It can also be seen in the rocks, or beneath them, or sometimes on algae or seaweed. This shell is abundant on Cornwall’s rocky beaches.

18- Dog Whelk Shell

This Dog Whelk Shell colour is greyish-white however it can be many different colours like yellow, orange black, brown or even a banded combination of these colours. They could also be blue, green or pink. They can also be pink, blue or green. Dog Whelk sea shells UK are found at the bottom of the beach and enjoy eating mussels and barnacles, which are considered their favorite food. They commonly found on rocky shores all around the British Isles.

19- Sea Potato Shell UK

The Sea potatoes are medium-sized sea shells UK. They lives inside the sand. They have spines that are longer at the back, which can allow them to breathe when they’re digging. It is easily identifiable by its heart-shaped shape, dull white colour and its thin, fragile shell. Their lifespan is between 10 – 20 years. 

It is also known as Heart Urchin and  are found on UK beaches that are muddy and sandy all along our coasts. The spines of the sea potato look more hairy as well.

20- Sea shells UK Sand Mason Worm

The Sand Mason Worms uses grains of sand as well as pieces of shells to form a tube of protection to reside in. In search of food, they feed on their tentacles to capture particles that are passing by or to search for debris on the seabed once the tide comes in. They might rise only a few centimetres above the surface, but they are in reality 30cm long. They are also found across in the UK coasts. This types of sea shells UK cannot swim and aren’t well managed outside of the tube. 

21- Netted Dog Whelk

The scientific name of Netted Dog Whelk is ‘Tritia Reticulatea’. These types of sea shells UK netted dog whelk are located on the coasts of Britain as well as Ireland. The white colour species found in the UK however, they are yellow or brown too. They live for 5-10 years, and reside in sandy and rocky shores that are the mix of rocks and sand, as well as mud.

To attack their prey, they create a hole in the ground and place a chemical agent within the shell of the animal and then it turns their prey to a soup which causes them to suck the insides.

UK Sea Shells Conclusion

The sea shells commonly known as Shells. The shell is hard protective cover usually created by molluscs. These shells protect the molluscs from all calamities.  The chemical Calcium carbonate is the main compound of shell structure. There are different types of sea shells UK are found in sandy and rocky shores of British Isles.

Shells have different shapes like oval , flat like slipper and rounded too. The historically sea shells UK are very famous or incorporated into necklaces, pendants, beads, earrings, buttons, brooches, rings, hair combs, belt buckles and other uses. Some of the sea shells UK are edible and uses for different dishes and some are deadly dangerous.