Shells of Lake Huron may not compare to more tropical shells in terms of size and variety of shapes and colors but they can be found in abundance along the shores of most beaches in Ontario, Canada and Michigan, U.S.A. As a kid, I spent hours collecting shells along the shores of my favorite beaches in Sarnia. The shells in the feature photograph of this post were found along the shore of Mike Weir Park Beach in Bright’s Grove, Ontario now part of the larger City of Sarnia. From what I can tell from my research, these shells are likely remnants from one or both of the a couple of species.
Creatures that make up the Shells of Lake Huron
It is a fresh-water snail found on rock shoals and gravel bars which seems to fit with my experience of this part of Lake Huron. It is an aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Pleuroceridae. The word gastropod comes from the Greek meaning stomach foot. It can reach up to 20 mm in size and is thus not a giant among snail shells. In my experience along Lake Huron, snail shells rarely get larger than this. Interestingly, its conservation status in Ontario is listed as vulnerable.
This species is also a fresh-water snail known to be found in Lake Huron. It tends to burrow in sand and mud. There is certainly an abundance of sand along the shores of Lake Huron. Its appearance is remarkably similar to E. livescens.
The shell of this snail can have up to 14 whorls and can reach sizes of up to 37 mm although in my over 35 years experience combing Sarnia beaches for shells I have never come across one of that size. Its conservation status in Ontario appears to be imperiled which means its population is in decline and it is in danger of becoming locally extinct. Now that I know I can possibly find shells of that size on my favorite Sarnia beach I’ll be keeping a closer watch during my summer visits.