Jingle Shells

After Monday’s deluge there was a break in the weather yesterday and we made the most of it, taking the kids to Air Force Beach in Comox to enjoy the sun. Surprisingly, we had never been to Air Force Beach before despite the length of time we’ve lived in the Comox Valley. We’ll definitely be back – it’s a beautiful beach that joins up with the long sandy stretch of Kye Bay.

Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma - Other common names include the Green Falsejingle, False Pacific Jingle, Jingle Shell, Rock Jingle, and Pacific Rock Oyster.
Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma - Other common names include the Green Falsejingle, False Pacific Jingle, Jingle Shell, Rock Jingle, and Pacific Rock Oyster.

One of the treasures that we discovered on the beach (in addition to two very dead octopuses) was a near perfect Jingle Shell (Pododesmus macrochisma). This native “rock oyster” attaches itself to the rocky bottom of the ocean with a short, thick byssus through a hole in the lower shell rather than cementing itself directly to the rock. The Jingle Shell is actually not a true oyster and belongs in the family Anomiidae within the order Ostreoida.

Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma showing the top part of the shell.
Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma showing the top part of the shell.

Jingle Shells can be found in the intertidal zone to depths of up to 90m. Judging from the amount of seaweed washed up on the beach it is possible that this shell was washed up in the recent storm. Regardless, it was picked clean by scavengers and in stunning condition. We’ve found Jingle Shells at other beaches but none that were this clean.

Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma showing the green interior from which it gets the name Green False-Jingle
Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma showing the green interior of the top shell.

The name Jingle Shell references the thin lower shell that makes a “jingling” sound when tied together with other Jingle Shells. The interior of the shell is a striking green which also gives it the common name Green Falsejingle.

Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma - lower shell
Jingle Shell Oyster | Pododesmus macrochisma - lower shell.

We left this shell on the beach for others to enjoy. Hopefully some other lucky beach combers will discover it and appreciate its beauty as much as we did.

More wonderful posts about an assortment of organisms without backbones can be found at this month’s Circus of the Spineless, hosted this month by Greg Laden’s Blog.

Circus of the Spineless

8 comments

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and identifying the rowan tree leaves for me. I have just spent some time looking through your recent entries in this blog. Very interesting stuff, I will be back.

  2. Beautiful photos. I love the colors in the shells.
    There’s something about shells… they’re special to me. I guess it’s because I love being by the ocean but, sadly, rarely go there.

  3. Hi Ulrika – glad you enjoyed these shells. The west coast has so many beautiful shells which is a great incentive to go to the beach regularly. I like to leave them where I find them so that others can enjoy them as well.

    I think that my attraction to shells is their pure, simple forms and textures – always neat to photograph against wet, hard-packed sand. Shell hunting also gives me the opportunity to learn about different species of clams that I can’t often see without digging or venturing deep into the low intertidal zone.

  4. Jingle Shell, Jingle Shell, Jingle Shell rock…

    Sorry, had to say it. These storms would make beachcombing especially enjoyable.

  5. An interesting shell. With that ready-made hole, I can see how the temptation to string several together would be almost overwhelming.

  6. No worries Tim – I was thinking of titling the post Jingle Shells, Jingle Shells but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Thanks for taking up the slack!

  7. Pingback: Island Nature  :: Kye Bay Beach Walk

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