On September 26, 2012, I posted this photo on theoutershores’ Facebook page along with the message, “The early morning search for the purple olive, Olivella biplicata, begins here.” I took the photo on September 1, with a low morning tide of -0.2′, and I expected to walk out toward the breakers and take pictures of the purple olive Callianax biplicata in the great morning light. But unfortunately, I didn’t report what happened. What happened is this: I didn’t find any purple olives, and in the nearly eight months since I took the photo, I didn’t encounter a single purple olive.


My luck changed on April 26, 2013. An early morning low tide of -1.7′ provided a great opportunity, and I noticed a distinctive show before long. A show is a track or dimple left in beach sand by an organism, usually a creature that buries itself below the surface, like a clam. In the gallery below, you can check out the purple olive and its show and the Pacific razor clam and its show.

Have you ever discovered a show on the beach and wondered what creature made it? Did you find out? Low tide on the outer shores is a great time to find exciting shows.

I updated this post on September 14, 2022.

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