Pink Scallop Shells for Collecting

Throughout the centuries many romantic and historical events have evolved with the beautiful scallop shell as a symbol.  Early American Indians of the Pacific Northwest used scallop shells in their ceremonial dances and some tribes used them as ornaments. Today the shells are eagerly sought by collectors.
Photo by Gary Hayes

A beautiful beachcombing find, the delicate Pacific Pink Scallop shell, also known as Chlamys hastata, is a tiny treasure. With a typical diameter of just two inches the thin and nearly translucent shell is very delicate. Scallops can be found all over the world in ocean habitats, but this fan-like shell is mostly found along coastal beaches stretching from Alaska to San Diego. eNature.com reports that certain walls and reefs in the San Juan Islands are covered in Pacific pink scallops.

San Juan Islands – Robert Demar Photograph©

Though these shells can also be white, yellow or purple, the typical color of scallops found along Pacific Northwest beaches is pink. According to Coast Explorer Magazine, pink scallops are easily identified by their regular, radial grooves extending out from a point at the hinge of the shell, and by their uneven “ears” on either side of this point. This special pink creature is sometimes called a “singing” or “scooter” scallop because he lives on top of the sand under water, and snaps his shell shut, thus forcing water out of the shell. The scallop can jet propel himself about the sea bottom in this way.They spawn in March and April and again in September and October, so, to the delight of many beachcombers, there are plenty of opportunities to collect these beautiful, delicate shells along the Oregon and Washington coast. 

Pink Scallop Seashell by Sczez at Webshots

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, or plan a visit, you may find the Pacific Northwest Shell Club an interesting website to visit as it has everything you need to know about the local waters and their sealife. Seashell collecting is fun and rewarding, whether you collect as a way to remember the beaches you have visited or simply because you love their beauty. So get out there and start searching!

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