Lettered Olive Shell

The Burrito Shell


The lettered olive can be found all along the east coast of the United States and on the west coast of Florida, but they are most frequent from North Carolina to Florida. South Carolina designated the lettered olive as its official state shell in 1984. Other olive species can be found all over the world. The lettered olive's scientific name is Oliva sayana, and it lives in flat sandy places along the beach. Delicate coquina shells and other small bivalves are on the menu for the olive shells. When an olive shell discovers a little shell to dine on, it will wrap its muscular foot around its food while dragging it under the sand to pry open and consume.


There are two colorful designs in addition to the conventional lettered olive pattern: the golden olive and the fulgurator olive. Both are more rare and valuable than the standard color pattern. The entire shell of the golden olive is a light yellow tint. Golden olives have been observed to come in tints from a rich honey to the palest yellow. In contrast, the fulgurator olive is a dark warm brown with lighter caramel and tan stripes running horizontally across it. So the next time you come across an olive shell, consider making a burrito.

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