Full Version: UFOs (Unidentified Found Objects ;-)
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Hello shell collectors,

These are probably not shells at all, but I found them while looking for shells and seaglass on the Atlantic side of Eleuthera, Bahamas. I have looked at numerous shell, shark tooth, and "general beach find" identification guides, but have not been able to find any pictures of these anywhere. Google reverse image search returns "Teeth" and brings up a bunch of shark tooth pictures. They look a bit like dull shark teeth, but feel and sound (when shaken in hand) more like shells. Also, I have never seen shark teeth colored/patterned like these. They also resemble beaks of some type, like sea turtle or octopus beaks.

Does any of you have a clue what these are?

Thanks in advance!

These are shell plates from chitons. Chitons are a separate class of mollusks. Each animal has a series of 8 shell plates, smaller ones toward the anterior and posterior end, and wider ones toward the middle of the body. The shell plates are held together by the girdle, a muscular band that encircles the outer edge of the animal. The ends of the shell plates are embedded in the girdle. The underside of the animal has no protective shell, but it lives attached firmly to the surfaces of rocks or other hard surfacess (often including the shells of other mollusks, dead or alive). When the chiton dies, the girdle and soft parts decompose, freeing the shell plates to wash ashore.
Very cool!
Thank you so much for the info. It was driving me crazy that I couldn't find anything regarding these anywhere.
I actually saw several chitons on the surrounding rocks, but never put the two together. There must be a lot of them near that beach as I found these 12 within 10-15 minutes in the same spot.

Thanks again, you saved my sanity :-)