Lightning Whelk: A Texas Symbol  LbNA # 54930

Placed DateAug 1 2010
LocationGalveston, TX
Found By Paisley
Last Found Aug 22 2012
Hike Distance?
Last EditedDec 3 2015

Lightning Whelk, the State Shell Of Texas

In 1987, the 70th Texas Legislature designated the lightning whelk, Busycon perversum pulleyi (Hollister, 1958), as the official state shell of Texas, joining several other flora and fauna that symbolize the rich diversity of Texas natural resources. It has a limited range from Breton Sound, Louisiana to the northern coast of Mexico, and is a common native in most waters along the Texas coast. Although one of the largest shells in the Gulf of Mexico, the lightning whelk's unique shape makes it easily recognized among most other shells. The whorls of the lightning whelk shell coil in a counter-clockwise direction, with its aperture (opening) on its left -- an unusual spiraling profile shared by few other shells.

During my 2010 visit to Galveston I was on a quest to find a lightning whelk to show to my 4th grade Texas History students. I only found broken remnants of the lightning whelk on the public beaches along Seawall Blvd. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the lightning whelk on the beaches of Galveston Island State Park either. In desperation, I crossed FM 3005 and took the Galveston Island State Park road that went to the north. I found myself in a low tide water/bayou type area. There, I found my first lightning whelk moving across the shore line of a low water area. Unfortunately the shell already had an owner…a hermit crab! I left the lightning whelk where I found it and went in search of one at Murdoch’s!

To find the "Lightning Whelk: A Texas Symbol" Letterbox, drive along Seawall Blvd to the San Luis Resort and turn on to Ft. Crockett Blvd. Go past the IHOP and follow the road as it curves to the north east and goes behind the San Luis Resort. (the address is something like 502 Ft. Crockett) Turn left into the first entrance of the San Luis Resort parking lot. If you are following the directions carefully there should be a “pedestrian crossing” sign on your left and a gazebo with a sitting area on your right. The “number 5” is on this gazebo. Slowly drive in to the parking lot and turn to your right at the first intersection you come to. Stop! On your right should be the gazebo with the sitting area and on your left will be a raised plant bed. On each end of the raised plant bed are tall palm trees but in the middle is a street light. Face the street light. At the bottom left side of the street light, buried in the dirt and covered with a rock is the treasure you seek. When you place the box back, please make sure the lid is secure and the hide back well so gardeners or visitors to the San Luis won‘t see it! GOOD LUCK!!!