Exploring Oregon’s Seashells: A Guide to the Different Types of Shells Found Along the Coast

Oregon’s coastline offers a rich variety of seashells, making beachcombing a popular activity for shell enthusiasts. While the types of shells you can find may vary depending on the specific beach and time of year, here are some common types of shells that can be found along the Oregon coast:

1. Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Pacific oysters are bivalve shells commonly found along the Oregon coast. They have rough, irregular shells with a rough texture and a range of colors, including gray, brown, and off-white. Pacific oysters are known for their culinary value as well.

2. Pacific Razor Clam (Siliqua patula)

Pacific razor clams are elongated bivalve shells that can be found buried in sandy areas of the Oregon beaches. They have thin, delicate shells with a long, narrow shape. Pacific razor clams are prized for their meat and are commonly harvested for recreational and culinary purposes.

3. Pacific Purple Olive (Olivella biplicata)

Pacific purple olives are small, elongated shells with a glossy surface. They have a characteristic olive shape and can range in color from pale pink to dark purple. Pacific purple olives are commonly found in the sandy areas of Oregon beaches and are sought after by shell collectors.

4. Japanese Glass Floats

Japanese glass floats are unique beachcombing finds along the Oregon coast. These glass spheres were used by Japanese fishermen to keep fishing nets afloat. They come in various colors, sizes, and shapes, and finding intact or fragments of glass floats can be a thrilling discovery.

5. Sand Dollar (Dendraster excentricus)

Sand dollars are echinoderms that wash ashore and leave behind their white, flat skeletons. These round, flat shells have a flower-like pattern on their surface and are often found on sandy beaches. Live sand dollars have a velvety texture and are typically gray or purplish in color.

6. Oregon Triton (Fusitriton oregonensis)

The Oregon triton is a medium-sized, spiral-shaped shell with distinct ridges and spines. It has a cream or beige color with brown bands and can be found along rocky shores or buried in sandy areas. Oregon tritons are often sought after by shell collectors for their unique appearance.

7. Pacific Grove (Crespiidae)

Pacific grove shells are small to medium-sized shells with a distinctive shape and ridged surface. They have an elongated, cylindrical form and can range in color from cream to light brown or gray. Pacific grove shells can be found in rocky areas or washed up on Oregon beaches.

These are just a few examples of the many types of shells that can be found along the Oregon coast. Exploring different beaches and coastal areas will reveal a wide variety of seashells, each with its own unique beauty and characteristics. Remember to respect local regulations and guidelines when collecting shells and leave living organisms undisturbed.