What a lucky devil!
Favorite longtime guest, Don P, recently found this crown jewel shell of Sanibel — the Scaphella junonia — more commonly known as “THE Junonia.”
Shellseekers comb our beaches (in this writer’s case, for decades!) in hopes of snaring the rare beauty. Don mentioned that this was the second junonia he has found, the first being over 20 years ago off the beach of Ocean’s Reach.
The Junonia belongs to the volute family which is a taxonomic family of medium-sized to extremely large predatory sea snails. Volutes (Latin for “scroll”) are known for their distinctively marked sprial shells. The junonia is a cream-colored shell with rows of mahogany-colored square dots, and is named after Juno, the ancient Roman goddess, known for her stately beauty.
The junonia is a deep-water species commonly found in 60 to 120 feet of water. It is rarely found washed up on the beach, making it a valued collector’s item.