There have been pieces, shards and even the majority of several shells but Margaret and Chris Schroeder had yet to find a whole, intact Junonia shell.


The Junonia is something of a shellers Holy Grail.


But the quest was fruitful on a recent Saturday as the Schroeders discovered an intact Junonia near the Barbardos boardwalk on St. Joseph Peninsula while serving their duties on turtle patrol.


Since buying a home here in Gulf County, the Schroeders had found 14 pieces of Junonia shells, but never a whole, intact shell.


(Pictured behind the whole Junonia front and center}


There is a reason.


The Junonia shell is considered one of rarest shells in the world.


The junonia belongs to the volute family of medium-sized to very large predatory sea snails that live deep in the ocean.


Volutes are known by their distinct marked spiral marked shells and are often part of bycatch of shrimpers or dredged by divers.


But they also live in water miles offshore that is 30 to 130 meters deep.


And they only make it to shore due to the forces of a hurricane or tsunami.


Therefore, it is very rare for waves from a hurricane or similar storm to roll a Junonia shell all the way to the beach without some damage.


Most Junonias are found along Florida’s Gulf Coast.