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|Table of Contents|
|Florida Sea Shells|
|Romance of the Beaches|
|History of Mollusks|
|Bivalves or Pelecypods|
|Univalves or Gastropods|
|Armed Mollusks or Cephalopods|
|Tooth Shells or Scaphopods|
|Other Creatures of the Sea|
|Index of English Names|
|Index of Latin Names|
CITATION SEARCH THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
|Table of Contents|
Title Page 1
Title Page 2
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Florida Sea Shells
Romance of the Beaches
History of Mollusks
Bivalves or Pelecypods
Univalves or Gastropods
Armed Mollusks or Cephalopods
Tooth Shells or Scaphopods
Other Creatures of the Sea
Index of English Names
Index of Latin Names
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FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
BERTHA ALDRICH AND
BOSTON AND NEW YOBK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
uMlaa t s"meCuawrag
=wM=Mff. 1936.3 NT MimA D. 3. ALvinW AND 3mmL unIM
ALL XIGEnU 3333Y3D O.UDUIG MM3 3103! TO RZflODUCZ
133ff Ell T133 U.U.A.
WHO LOVES THE
'EMPIBE OF THE BUN'
AND THOUGHT THIS BOOK
A GOOD IDEA
IN PREPABING this book the authors have endeavored
to meet an ever-increasing demand for material con-
cerning Florida shore life. We do not claim original-
ity, but by patient search have gathered together
those facts that we consider most useful to the
teacher and the shell enthusiast.
Because live mollusks are so abundant on the
Florida beaches, we deemed it best to include facts
concerning the inhabitant of the shell as well as a
description of the shell itself. Some facts concerning
the use of shells have also been added for the purpose
of creating interest and to show that shell collecting
is not a pretty hobby alone, but may have far-
reaching commercial possibilities.
We hope to acquaint those who may not be able
to collect shells themselves, but who may buy them
or receive them as gifts, with the joys and profits of
a knowledge of the great kingdom of Mollusca. In
order to limit the scope, only material pertaining to
marine life has been used. The terrestrial mollusks
and the fresh-water mollusks have not been in-
To Car Byars Dawson and her children, Cars and
Fielding, we express our gratitude for the many
hours of patient searching and for their gallant comn-
penienship on the trail of the elusive shell
Thanks are due to that intrepid exponent of
Southern hospitality, Mrs. Bertie Sumner, of Way-
side Inn, Bonita Springms for her interest and co-
operation and for the loan of her beautiful shells that
made our task so much eaier.
And to Mr. Ernest Schmitt many thanks for
his very practical assistance and his hearty laugh
that helped over so many a rough place.
We are grateful, too, to Mr. Lorin 0. Thompson
and Major Daniel C. Smith for their timely assist-
ance and constant encouragement.
We acknowledge our great debt to Julia E. Rogers
for Tno 8Sa Book, our guide and inspiration, the
storehouse of shell information we have drawn upon
To the staff members of the Miami Beach Public
Library, who have endured with rare patience and
fortitude the birthing of this brain child, our undying
. I. RomANxC or mz BEACHem S
HI. HIMzIY or MOLLU K 10
IIL BVALzs on PELCTPODS 17
IV. UNIVALVu OB GAmToroPD 51
V. AmKD MoLLusxs oB CEP ALPoDs 88
VI. Too=n SHmas oB SCAP OODS 99
VII. OrTHE CREATURES OF THE SEA 101
1. COLLECTING SHELLS 111
2. MOUNTING SHELLS 112
BIBmnooGRAPIC R mBENC 115
The figures in italics refer to the pages of the text
Grateful acknowledgment is made to Dr. Paul
Bartsch, Curator of Mollusks and Cenozoic Inver-
tebrates, Smithsonian Institution, United States
National Museum, for his assistance in selecting
and arranging these illustrations.
PLATE I (Y3 natural size)
1. The Large Cockle (Cardium robustum). 432
2. Angel's Wing (Barnea costata). 50
3. The Sun Ray or Giant Callista (Macrocallista nimbo-
4. Chest Rock Oyster (Echinochama arcinella), exte-
5. Chest Rock Oyster (Echinochama arcinella). inte-
6. Atlantic Wing Shell (Pteria colymbus). 27
7. Turkey's Wing (Area occidentalis). 23
8. Hooked Mussel (Mytilus recurvus). 36
9. Pearly Oyster (Pinctada radiata). 28
10. The Ponderous Ark (Noetia ponderosa). 24
11. Tree or Coon Oyster (Ostrea spreta). 30
12. Noah's Ark (.4rea umbonata). 23
13. Leafy Rock Oyster (Chama macrophylla), inte-
14. Leafy Rock Oyster (Chama macrophylla), exte-
15. Tulip Horse Mussel (Modiolus tulipus). 36
16. American Thorny Oyster (Spondylus echinatus amcri-
17. Calico Shell (Peeten gibbus). 33
18. Lion's Paw or Knobbed Scallop (Pedecn nodosus). 33
19. Prickly Pen Shell (Atrina rigida). 25
20. The Green Razor Clam (Solen viridis). 49
1l. The Virginia Oyster (O.strea virginica). 28
2t. Pea Pod Shell or Rock Eater (Lithophaga bisul-
23. The Half-Naked Pen Shell (Atrina serrata). 25
PLATE II (Y2 natural size)
1. Cross-Barred Venus (Chione cancellata). 44
2. Elegant Dosinia (Dosinia elegant). 44
3. Disk Dosinia (Dosinia discus). 43
4. Spotted Clam (Macrocallista maculata). 44
5. The White Buttercup (Leripinus alba). 40
6. The Pennsylvania Lucina (Lucina pennsylvanica). 39
7. The Rose Cockle (Cardium isocardia). 41
8. Tiger Lucina (Lucina orbicularis). 40
9. Channeled Lahiosa (Labiosa lineata). 49
10. Solid Surf Clam (Spissula solidissimna similis). 49
11. Florida Lucina (Lucina floridana). 40
le. Rayed Semele (Semele proficua). 47
13. The Yellow Cockle (Cardium miuricatum). 42
14. Round Clam or Hard-Shelled Clam (Venus merce-
15. The Buttercup (Lucina janiaicensis). 39
. '1 ,
'.q* i^ ^ .:
..., .t^.f.,- I."
1. Plaited Shell (Plicatula gibbosa) (}1 natural size). 31
2. Rose Petal (Tellina alternate) (1j natural size). 46
3. Sunrise Shell (Tellina radiata) (/2 natural size). 46
4. The Lined Tellen (Tellina lineata) (/2 natural size). 46
5. The Transverse Ark (Arca transversa) (12 natural
6. Cross-Lined Ark (Arca reticulata) (/2 natural size). 24
7. Three-Lined Pandora (Pandora trilineata) (natu-
ral size). 37
8. Nut Shell (Nucula proxima) (natural size). 22
9. Florida Lyonsia (Lyonsia floridana) (natural size). 37
10. Shipworm (Bankia gouldi), shell (natural size). 50
11. Shipworm (Bankia gouldi). pallet (natural size). 50
12. Say's Tellen (Tellina sayi) (natural size). 46
13. Pink Tellen (Macoma tenta) (natural size). 47
14. Basket Clam (Corbula contract) (natural size). 50
15. The Iris Tellen (Tellina iris) (natural size). 46
16. Variable Wedge Shell (Donax variabilis) (natural
17. Lantern Shell (Periploma angulifera) (natural
18. Thick-Shelled Heart (Crassatellites gibbsi) (,' natural
19. Southern Cyrena (('yrena carolinensis) (,i natural
20. Egg Cockle (Laericardium serratum) (12 natural
21. Broad-Ribbed Cardita (Cardita floridana) (,' natural
22. Smooth Jingle Shell (Anomia simplex), exterior of
upper valve (i1 natural size). 35
23. Rough File Shell (Lima scabra) (}i natural size). 34
24. Smooth Jingle Shell (Anomia simplex). interior of
lower valve (2 natural size). 35
PLATE IV (natural size)
1. The Pointed Marginella (Marginella apicina). 81
2. Granulated Sundial Shell (Architectonica granu-
3. Spotted Marginella (Marginella guttata). 81
4. The Greedy Anachis (Anachis avara). 77
5. Slit Limpet (Subemarginula pumila). 57
6. Key-Hole Limpet (Fissurella barbadensis). 57
7. Flat Slipper Shell (Crepidula plana). 65
8. The West Indian Limpet (Acmaea antillarum). 57
9. The Auger Shell (Terebra protexta). 84
10. The Angulated Scala (Epitonium angulatum). 60
11. Florida Bubble (Bulla occidentalis). 86
12. Tessellated Nerite (Nerita tesselata). 60
13. Florida Modulus (Modulus floridanus). 68
14. The Alternate Siphon Shell (Siphonaria alternate). 87
15. Common Columbella (Pyrene mercatoria). 76
16. Worn-Out Basket Shell (Nassarius obsoleta). 77
17. Cup and Saucer Limpet (Crucibulum striatum). 64
18. Coffee Bean (Trivia pediculus). 71
19. Swollen Egg Shell (Cyphoma gibbosa). 70
20. Violet Snail (lanthina ianthina). 61
21. Ruddy Rum Shell (Marginella carnea). 81
PLATE V (YI natural size)
1. The Duplicid Moon Shell (Polinices duplicate). 62
2. Stone Apple (Astraea tuber). 59
3. Little Moon Shell (Natica canrena). 62
4. The Spotted Moon Shell (Sinum maculatum). 63
5. Bleeding Tooth (Nerita peleronta). 60
6. Florida Top Shell (Calliostoma euglyptum). 58
7. The Flat Moon Shell (Sinum perspectivum). 63
8. The Broad-Spined Turban (Astraea latispina). 59
9. Star Shell (Astraea longispina spinulosa). 59
10. Mouse Cone (Conus mus). 85
11. The Cancellated Cantharus (Cantharus canctlla-
12. Worm Shell (Vermicularia spirata). 67
13. Golden-Mouth Murex (Murex chrysostomus). 75
14. American Stone Apple (Astraea americana). 59
15. Slipper Limpet (Crepidula fornicata). 64
16. Cross-Barred or Nutmeg Shell (Cancellaria reticu-
17. Chinese Alphabet ((onus proteus). 85
18. The Florida Cone (Conusfloridanus). 85
19. Variegated Screw Shell (Turritella rariegata). 66
qo. Netted Olive (Oliva reticularis). 83
el. Lettered Olive (Oliva sayana). 83
PLATE VI (3 times natural size)
1. Short Pyramid Shell (Turbonilla curta). 62
2. Lunar-marked Columbella (Mitrella lunata). 77
3. The Impressed Odostomia (Odostomia impressa. 62
4. Florida Blind Shell (Caecum floridanum). 67
5. The Shining Horn Shell (Meioceras nitidum). 67
6. Pygmy Coffee Bean (Erato mangeriae). 72
7. Umbilicate Pheasant Shell (Phasianella umbili-
8. Pheasant Shell (Phasianella offinis). 58
9. Obelisk Shell (Pyramidella candida). 62
10. Four-Spotted Coffee Bean (Trivia quadripunctata). 71
11. The Lined Scala (Epitonium lineatum). 61
PLATE VII (Y natural size)
1. Partridge Tun (Tonna perdi.). 73
2. Scotch Bonnet (C(assis inflata). 73
3. Junonia (Maculopeplum junonia). 81
4. Apple Murex (Mure.r pomum). 7.5
5. Florida Purple (Thai floridana). 76
6. West Indian Top Shell (Livona pica). 5,1
7. Paper Fig Shell (Ficus papyratia). 73
8. Violet-Brown Worm Shell (Vermetus nigricans). 66
9. Measled Cowry (Cypraea exanthema). 71
PLATE VIII (natural size)
1. Florida Drill (Urosalpinx floridana). 76
2. Longhorned Smoke Shell (Typhis longicornis). 75
3. Hungarian Hat (Capulus ungaricuv). 63
4. The Narrow Nutmeg Shell (('ancellaria tenera). 86
5. Oyster Drill (Urosalpinx cinerea). 75
6. Common Periwinkle (Littorina irrorata). 65
7. Rice Shell (Olivella mutica). 83
8. Zigzag Periwinkle (Littorina ziczac). 66
9. The Modest Siliquaria (Siliquaria modesta). 67
10. Tampa Urosalpinx (Urosalpinx tamnpaen.is). 76
11. The Angulated Periwinkle (Littorina angulifera). 65
12. The Plicate Egg Shell (Simnia uniplicata). 70
13. The Pointed Egg Shell (Simnia aricularis). 70
14. Painted Cantharus (Cantharu tiinetui). 77
15. Brown Horn Shell (Cerithiumn floridanum). 68
16. Prickly Tectarius (Tertarius inuricatus). 66
17. Nodulose Tectarius (Tertariu.t nodulosus). (6
18. The Dislocated Auger Shell (Terebra dislocata). 84
PLATE IX (Y5 natural size)
1. Channeled Whelk (Husycon canalieulatus). 78
2. The Spine-Ribbed or Lace Murex (Murex fulres-
3. Left-Handed Whelk or Lightning Shell (Busycon per-
4. Tulip Band (Fasciolaria tulipa). so
5. Pale Tulip (Fasciolaria distans). 80
6. Pear Conch (Busycon pyrum). 78
7. The Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis). 70
8. Conch (Strombus gigas). 69
9. King's Crown (Melongena corona). 79
10. The Spiny Vasum (Vasum muricatum). 67
11. Black or Cameo Helmet Shell (Cas.is madagascaren-
12. Giant Band Shell (Fasciolaria gigantea). 80
13. Helmet Tun Shell (Tonna galea). 73
1. Paper Nautilus (Argonauta argo) (t3 natural size). 96
,2. Spirula (Spirula spirula) (/3 natural size). 98
3. Tooth Shell (Dentalium laqueatum) ('! natural size). 99
4. The Common Squid (Loligo pealeii) (i natural
5. Octopus or Devilfish (Octopus vulgaris) (' natural
6. Chambered Nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) ('3 natural
PLATE XI (5 natural size)
1. King Crab (Xiphosura polyphemus). 109
2. Sea Horse (Hippocampus punctulatus). 109
3. Starfish of Florida (Asterias forbesii). 106
4. Millepore of Florida (Millepnra alricornis). 105
5. Stag Horn Coral (Madrepora cerricornis). 106
6. Sea Urchin (Tripneustes exculent us). 107
7. Sea Fan (Gorgoniaflabellum). 104
8. Sand Dollar (Mellita quinquiesperforata). 107
*6 7 8 '
FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
CLIMATIC DIVISIONS s .
FLORIDA w r of
ROMANCE OF THE BEACHES
FO*DwA, from its earliest history, has been a land of
romance and adventure. The Spaniard came seeking
gold he did not find, but the modern adventurer, if
he be a shell collector, will be well rewarded for his
The sea, with its treasures, has always excited the
imagination. In ancient times the ocean was be-
lieved to be peopled with sea nymphs and mermaids.
Oceanus ruled it, with Neptune and his triad. Fan-
tastic pictures describing palaces on the ocean floor
have filled the books of fairy tales. But nothing
can equal the reality revealed to us through the
modem equipment designed for exploring the ocean
Coral formations, purple sea fans, gorgeous sea-
weeds, brilliant-hued fish, queer creatures whose
shapes and colors defy description, starfishes, crusta-
ceans, and mollusks of all varieties, make a veritable
dream world. Only a few are privileged to explore
this new world for themselves, but many can and do
enjoy the treasures tossed up lavishly on the beaches
by the ever-recurring tides.
The collector of shells finds the Florida beaches
abundantly loaded with the objects of his search.
4 FLORIDA BSA SHBLLS
The West Coast of Florida is particularly rich in
varieties of mollusks and other sea creatures. The
most famous beaches of the Florida West Coast are
near inlets or an islands just off the mainland. To
these beaches the rushing waters of the tides carry
multitudes of shells.
At the southernmost tip of the Florida West
Coast is Cape Sable. Stretching northward from this
point, isolated and accessible only by boat, are
beaches where shells are piled up in great mounds.
The Ten Thousand Islands, lying along the coast
opposite Everglades City, have few beaches. A
sandbar rising between the islands and the open
Gult prevents the mollusk from being washed to
shore. The islands are covered with tangled man-
grove trees. Oysters cling in masses to the roots of
the mangrove. At low tide the roots and their bur-
den of bivalves stand entirely out of the water and
the clinging oysters are exposed to view. This phe-
nomenon gives rise to the droll legend concerning
the oyster that is able to climb a tree.
A few miles north of Everglades City is the splen-
did beach on Marco Island. A narrow shell road,
leading off the Tamiami Trail, east of the town of
Naples, will take you to the Gulf Coast, where you
will be ferried across to the island. The settlement on
Mareo Island consists of a fair hotel, a few scattered
dwellings, a general store, and many fishermen's huts
with drying nets flapping in the wind. There is a
large clam-chowder factory on the island. Great
mounds of discarded clam shells dot the island in
ROMANCE OF THE BEACHES 5
A three-mile tropical trail brings one to a great
horseshoe stretch of wide, white sand beach, miles
long, bordered with clumps of tall cabbage palms
and tropical growth. Shells are piled in profusion.
The Mexican Gulf, blue as a turquoise, stretches
calmly to the most distant horizon. Great black
porpoises lift their fins and tails as they swim along;
a lonely heron stands on one leg in the shallow water.
Pelicans sail overhead in orderly file, following the
leader; tiny sandpipers run along the beach dodging
the oncoming waves. Mountains of billowy white
clouds pile high in the cobalt sky.
Here the collector walks along the tide line picking
up a golden-yellow buttercup shell filled with sea
water, a rose cockle, a spiky white chest rock oyster
with its lavender lining, or a Chinese alphabet shell
just rolling back into the water with a receding wave.
This lovely tropical beach stretches mile upon mile,
untouched by civilization- beautiful, dazzling in
the sun, gorgeous in color and splendor. This at-
mosphere of beauty and peace, absorbed by the col-
lector and associated with his shells, is of greater
value to him than the shell itself.
Cape Romano has a good beach; Naples, also. At
Bonita Springs, four miles off the Tamiami Trail,
there is an excellent beach. Here the eight-mile
stretch between two rushing inlets is well combed by
shell collectors during the winter season. At the
north end of the beach is a fisherman's hut, with its
palmetto-thatched roof. The fisherman's wife gath-
ers shells at low tides. There is a ready market for
her shells because of their wide variety. Her own col-
6 FLORIDA SBA 8HELLS
election is of great interest to shell enthusiasts visit-
ing this locality.
Sanibel Island near Fort Myers is most widely
known for the great variety of splendid shell speci-
mens found on its beach. The rare and beautiful
Junonia, a deep-sea mollusk, is frequently found
here, after a storm has stirred up the ocean depths.
Stretching northward along the West Gulf Coast
from Charlotte Harbor to Cedar Key, either on the
mainland or on adjacent islands, are many fine shell
beaches. These beaches are the Mecca of shell col-
lectors from all over the world. Many winter visitors
to this section of the State have become collectors
through their surprise and delight at finding so many
varieties near at hand. The children are especially
enthusiastic, and many adopt the study of shells as a
permanent hobby. Some of the better-known beaches
are at Punta Gorda, Sarasota, Bradenton, Passa.
grille, Clearwater, and Tarpon Springs.
The South Gulf Coast, though it does not offer as
many shell beaches, is the locality where the com-
meidal use of shells and their animal inhabitants has
been built up. Here the oyster industry thrives, and
those animals and shellfish that feed upon them are
hee too. Their shells are washed up on the shore or
brought up by the fishermen and eagerly seized upon
by shell lovers.
The Florida East Coast, though not so rich in
shells as the West Coast, has, however, many varie-
ties particularly its own. The northern half of the
East Coast, extending as far south as Indian River
City, is classed as semi-tropical, and the fauna of
ROMANCE OF THE BEACHES
this section is very different from the lower half of
the State that is classed as sub-tropical. In the semi-
tropical regions are oysters and coquinas and many
other specimens of the temperate latitudes of the
The northern part of the sub-tropical section, al-
most as far south as Miami, is also different in fauna
from the southernmost parts and from the Florida
Keys. This is due to the near presence of the Labra-
dor Current that hugs the shore closely from Palm
Beach to near Miami, where it disappears. But
even in this cold current the marine life is warm
temperate mixed with a few of the hardier tropical
The Gulf Stream, sweeping northward along the
coral reefs, has a temperature of from seventy-five to
eighty degrees and sometimes higher. In the shal-
lower waters all life is tropical. As a rule the beaches
of southeastern Florida are not so rich in marine life
as those of the West Coast. The main reason for this
difference is that the shore drops down rapidly to the
bed of the Gulf Stream and there are few shallows
where such life develops.
The beaches near Miami are very different in ap-
pearance from other Florida beaches. On the main-
land beaches and those island beaches, such as
Miami Beach, the sand is coarse and golden. Above
the high tide line there is a wealth of tropical vegeta-
tion. Coconut and palmetto trees line the shores, and
everywhere is to be seen the sea grape or Coccolobis,
with its round, heavy, shiny leaves and its weight of
purple fruit that may be eaten. The leaves of the
8 FLORIDA E8A BHBLLS
ma grape are rich and green in the summer, but in
the winter change to autumn hues. Great masses of
the Touraertia, or sea lavender abound, with hoary
leaves that seem to be covered with perpetual snow.
Low yellow sunflowers grow everywhere and the
goat's-foot vine, with its cloven shiny leaf, sprawls
along covered with large purple blossoms that re-
embe the morning-glory. The shore is often piled
high with the common gulfweed and many delicate
algaa white, pink, and red as well as green, are
present. High above the tide line is a flat stretch of
and. Here many shells and seeds are to be found
washed ashore. The rare Spirula is here and the
delicate violet snail. The sea bean is found if one
is lucky, and the round, salt-encrusted seed of the
'Bus' palm (Manicaria) that has traveled three
thousand miles from its South American home to
rest at last on the shores of Miami Beach.
Along the Florida Keys to Key West, where there
are a number of splendid beaches, many different
tropical shells are found. The bleeding-tooth snails
live on the coral rocks. The large pink-lipped conch
is also found here.
At Key Vaca chitons are fastened to the rocks, and
a blow from a chisel is needed to loosen them. Here
also are triton, cowries, and small coral. At Stock
Island there are rocky shores, covered with bleeding-
Pen shell by the millions and quantities of the
small purple sail are found at Key West. Lovely
corals of many varieties are secured by the fisher-
man. Stands all along the road to Key West display
ROMANCE OF THE BEACHES 9
for sale corals, conchs, sea fans, and shells. The Dry
Tortugas, a small group of islands about sixty-five
miles west of Key West, have lovely corals and hel-
met shells and large conchs.
Charles Torrey Simpson fittingly expressed the
glory and romance of the Florida shores when he
'The brilliant sunlight, the beautiful sky, the
masses of tropical rain clouds piled up and the in-
tense and ever-varying color of the sea are all at-
tractions of a Florida shore. One could spend a life-
time wandering along these beaches and reefs and
still have much to admire and learn. Here are won-
derful lessons in the distribution of life, in the adapta-
tion of animals and plants to environment, in mimi-
cry. One would constantly find the unbelievable and
he would continually unravel problems in evolution
and the mysteries and purposes of life.'
HISTORY OF MOLLUSKS
VALUE TO MAN AND GENERAL
THE first known study and classification of the mol-
lusks was made by Aristotle. He recorded his finding
in two volumes entitled Historia Animalium and
De Partibus Animalium, and described the habits of
mollusks with considerable accuracy. In 1685,
Martin Lister laid the foundation for our modern
classification in his volume, Historiae Conchyliorum.
Cuvier, in 1799, designated Mollusca as one of the
primary groups of the animal kingdom. Richard
Curie, in his book, Colecting American First Edi-
tions, pages 31-S2, makes mention of The Concholo-
gist's First Book: or, a System of Testaceous Malacol-
ogy (1889), written by our own Edgar Allan Poe. Of
this work Mr. Curie has this to say: 'The spurious
erudition of those last two words [Testaceous Mala-
cology] was, if one may say so, Poe's only erudition on
the subject of snails. At this length of time we may
smile at any alleged interest, much less knowledge,
by Poe concerning these insignificant animals, but
in the eighteen-forties it was no laughing matter
either for his pocketbook or his pride. The letter
HISTORY OP MOLLUSKB 11
illustrated here shows how scanty was Poe's real
connection with this work, but how keen his resent-
ment at any suggestion of plagiarism, even in mala-
Mollusca, excluding insects, is by far the largest of
the invertebrate zoological groups. The Encyclo-
paedia Britannica notes that there are sixty thousand
living and twenty thousand extinct species. Bartsch,
in the chapter on mollusks in the Smithsonian
Scntife Series, asserts that there are probably one
hundred and fifty thousand species including the
fossils. Many naturalists in the past two centuries
have studied Mollusca and have written about them.
As late as the year 1800 there were only two thousand
known species, but in the past one hundred and
thirty-five years thousands of new species have been
There are valuable collections of shells both in
Europe and in America. Some of these collections
are to be found in public museums; others are pri-
vately owned. The Smithsonian Institution, the
Philadelphia Academy of Science, the Museum of
Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
the American Museum of Natural History in New
York City, and the Academy of Science in Chicago
all have splendid collections. Amateurs everywhere
collect shells, shell collecting being a hobby as popular
as coin or stamp collecting. Catalogues of shells are
available from firms having for sale shells collected
from all parts of the world.
People of wealth, interested in shells, frequently
sail their own yachts to those tropical beaches
U FLORIDA BRA 8HBLL8
famous for beautiful molluks. Many valuable
specie have been procured by such enthusiasts.
Scientic expeditions are launched by learned so-
ceties and by public subscription, and are sent to
the four corners of the globe, that they may bring
to us at home specimens of every variety.
Mollusks have a wide range of habitation. They
inhabit every climate. They live in salt and fresh
water, on land, in trees, and on shrubs. There are
mollusks able to climb, to crawl, to swim, to burrow,
to dig, not only in sand, but into hard rock, to dive
and to Soat. They vary in sie from the giant squids
of the North Atlantic, fifty feet long, to pin-head
sue. There ar dams in the West Pacific weighing
as much as fve hundred pounds.
Different varieties of shells are found on the same
beach at different times of the year. Sometimes
there will be quantities of paper fig shells and later
on none at all. During the month of March the
whole pecten, that delight of collectors, is generally
to be found on the Florida West Coast beaches. At
other times of the year, it is difficult to find even a
perfect single valve. Just as tropical birds and
fishes are the most brilliant in coloring, so the great-
est varieties and the most beautifully colored speci-
mens of mollusks are to be found on tropical beaches.
Mollusks have considerable commercial value.
The oyster industry, from which millions of dollars
are derived yearly, ranks first. Scallops, clams, and
cockles furnish food for man. In Europe some land
sails are considered a delicacy.
In the Orient the octopus is a choice food. The
HISTORY OP MOLILUSX8 1i
Greeks and Romans considered it the finest food
furnished by the sea. Pliny tells us that the gour-
mands of Rome ate every variety of octopus known
in the Mediterranean. The cooks baked the creature
in a sort of big pie, cutting off the arms and filing
the body with spices. Visitors to Italy, today, mar-
vel at the fondness of the Italians for octopuses.
They are to be had in almost any restaurant. There
are many ways to prepare them. Those persons with
a penchant for queer foods endeavor to cultivate a
taste for this oddity.
Pearls are found in many pearly shelled mollusks.
Mother-of-pearl is derived from the lining of shells.
From fresh-water clam shells, pearl buttons are made.
Cameos are cut from conch and helmet shells.
Italian cameo-cutters are especially adept in this
art. The Japanese, however, are the only people
fully awake to the beauty of form and color in shells.
They use this knowledge extensively in their art.
The purple dye of ancient times came from the
secretions of the murex. At that time the manufac-
ture of this dye constituted one of the principal in-
dustries. It flourished until an emperor decreed that
purple should be used only for royal robes.
India ink was formerly made from the secretion
thrown out as a smoke screen by the squid and the
The pen shells spin a silky thread. This thread
is secured in sufficient quantities to weave small ar-
ticles such as gloves.
Cowries and tooth shells were used as money by
primitive tribes. The wampum of the American
FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
Indian was made by cutting and grinding beads
from the clam shell.
In the Philippines and in China the flat thin win-
dow shell is used instead of window glass. It tones
down the tropical glare, and withstands the typhoon.
In Tibet, a shell with the whorl turned to the left
is held as sacred. An enterprising American obtained
a large quantity of left-handed whelks from the
Florida West Coast. These he disposed of with con-
siderable profit in Tibet. They were placed in the
Within the past few years the making of all sorts
of novelties and souvenirs from shells has developed
into one of Florida's very profitable industries. These
souvenirs are popular with the winter tourists, and
shops and stores throughout the area carry large
stocks of all kinds of them.
Bartsch, in the Smithsonian Scientifc Series,
volume 10, page 25a, describes how the fossil mollusk
is used to determine the age of geological formations.
We quote the following:
'Perhaps no group of fossils is more used by the
geologist and paleontologist to determine the age of
geological formations than the shells of mollusks.
These shells act as guides in the search for the treas-
ures of the earth's crust, be these water, oil, iron,
gold, diamonds, or the thousand and one other ma-
terials that we extract from the earth.
'It is the shell also that furnishes us with informa-
tion about the antiquity of Mollusca, for their fossil
shells bear evidence that these animals lived as long
ago as the early part of the Paleosoic era- well-
HISTORY OF MOLLUSKS 15
nigh the most ancient time from which animal re-
mains of any kind are known; and the shells also
bear evidence that these earliest known animals were
already so highly specialized as to force us to the con-
clusion that their ancestors arose far back beyond
Mollusca are invertebrate animals; that is, they
are without a backbone. The shell is the animal's
skeleton, secreted by the mantle for the animal's
protection. The shell is formed and developed at an
early stage in the mollusk's existence. This early
shell is never shed, but added to in much the same
manner that we develop our bones. The shell, what-
ever its shape or size, consists of three layers: an
outer, thin, protective layer; a second, thicker layer;
and an inner, very smooth, shiny layer that in some
shells is pearly. One group of mollusks, the squids
and octopuses, have no shells at all.
Many elements enter into the distribution of mol-
lusks: the temperature of the sea; the salinity, depth,
and pressure of the water; and the nature of the
floor of the ocean. The Gulf of Mexico is shallow
near the land and has a sandy bottom, while the At-
lantic Ocean is deep near the shore with long stretches
of coral reef making the bottom rough and rocky.
Most of the Atlantic mollusks have heavy shells to
protect them from the pounding of the surf. The
mollusks of the Gulf Coast are more fragile.
Some people consider only the shell, but Mollusca
has been classified with as much consideration for
the anatomy of the fleshly parts as for the shell
structure. 'Conchology' is the term used to de-
10 FLORIDA 8RA SBBLLS
sribe the study of shells; while 'malacology' refers
to the study and classification of the entire mollusk,
both shell and the animal within.
The classification as given by the Smithsonian In-
stitution is used in this volume, and is as follows:
Peecypods (htchet-footed) oyster bivalves
Sephopoda (plow-footed) dentalium tooth shells
Gtropa (belly-footed) snail univalves
Cephopoda (head-footed) octopus
The Scaphopoda and the Cephalopoda are limited
to a marine home. The bivalves are found in both
fresh water and salt. The only group living on land,
as well as in fresh and salt water, is the Gastropoda
which embraces the snail family. This group has the
greatest number of species.
The question constantly is asked, 'How long do
mollusks live?' In SBituonian Scient&e BSri,
page 625, will be found the answer: 'That is a ques-
tion that cannot be answered for all forms. Where
known, their duration of life extends from one to
thirty years. The oyster is adult at about five years
and lives for as long as ten. The garden snail has
been known to live five years. The fresh-water mus-
sels (Anodonta) may live for thirty years.'
Life is difficult at best for the mollusk. A great
majority never reach maturity. Fish, crustaceans,
starfish, and other sea creatures feed upon the suc-
culent mollusk. Mollusks are sometimes carnivo-
rous, and some even feed upon mollusks.
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS
Thm mollusk called bivalve is one with two shells
hinged together, opened and shut at will by the
create within. These halves may not be of equal
siue nor of sihlar color, nor quite the same shape.
Oysters and dams are bivalves.
The muscles which open and close the shell are
very strong. In order to open an oyster which has
dosed its shell, a special knife and strong arm are
necessary. Sears are made by these muscles on the
inside of the shell where they are attached and
smaller scar are made by the attachment of the foot
and mantle muscles.
The foot, which is usually quite sharp and points
downward and outward, looking much like a hatchet,
gives this family its name; Peecypoda, or hatchet-
footed. All bivalves at some time or other have this
foot. The oyster in adult life has ay habits and does
not develop the foot with which it starts life. With
this foot the bivalve can anchor itself to the ocean
bed, dig down into mud, burrow into sand, pull its
shell along, or even drill through a substance as hard
Bivalves have neither head, nor jaws, nor teeth.
18 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
The pectens or scallops have eyes, sometimes as
many as one hundred and twenty, which are placed
on the outer edge of the mantle and appear as tiny
and brilliant specks.
When the shell is ajar, which is its natural position,
the mantle appears as a simple flap. In some species
it is fringed with bright-colored tentacles which wave
gracefully. The mantle in some mollusks is even
more beautiful than the shell itself. It is the mantle
which secretes the shell. This shell is both the mol-
lusk's stronghold and its skeleton. The mantle
lines both valves and is attached to both. At one
end of the shell the two mantle edges form two tubes
In most species the siphons are not very long and
can be tucked into the shell when the animal wishes
to close it, but in a few species the siphons are several
times longer than the shell, and are too large to be
pulled in. Through one siphon water passes into the
mantle chamber, and through the other water is
discharged. Like fishes, bivalves breathe by means
of gills, and the inflow of water supplies the gills with
oxygen and the stomach with food. Minute forms
of life are carried with the water through the siphons,
and the bivalve has to take what food chance sends
its way. However, it can by a straining process dis-
card what it does not want and take what it chooses
to eat. It is estimated that an oyster strains almost
twenty gallons of water a day in order to get its sup-
ply of food and oxygen. Although the bivalve has a
mouth, it has no teeth, and the food is pushed into
a pouch-like stomach, where it is acted upon by the
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 19
digestive juices. It has intestines, kidneys, heart,
and a blood circulation. The blood of most bivalves
The nervous system of the bivalve is very simple.
A few species have eyes, and the ear, when there is
one, is in the foot. The instinct for self-preserva-
tion, even in the absence of eyes and ears, is de-
veloped to a point where, though the shell be tightly
closed, it can defend itself effectively. The mollusk
has many enemies, one of which is the starfish,
which lives side by side with it. It smothers the
mollusk by tightly wrapping its tentacles about the
closed shell, shutting of the mollusk's supply of
water and oxygen. In the clear, shallow water at
Bonita Springs Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico, such a
struggle with a starfish occurred where a group of
shell collectors could actually witness it. A nine-
legged starfish, seven or eight inches across, attacked
a small yellow cockle. The cockle closed its shell
tightly, but was not safe from the smothering grasp
of the starfish. By some instinct the cockle sensed
just the right second to strike. It opened its shell
and quickly clamped down on one of the starfish's
legs, completely breaking it off. The starfish at once
loosed its hold and swam away, to grow a new leg.
Life in the sea is a continual struggle for existence,
and an alert shell collector can see many instances of
it for himself.
Ordinarily, bivalves are either male or female, but
careful observers have found that some bivalves have
the ability to be female at one time and male at
another. In some bivalves the eggs are passed into
zo FLORIDA 8EA SHELLS
the surrounding water by the female where, after
fertitio they undergo further development.
In other species they are stored in the gills which
serve as bood pouches in which a certain amount of
development takes place.
Most bivalves have to contend only with their
enemies of the sea, which are many, but the unfor-
tunate oyster and a few other species are also preyed
upon by man, to such an extent that some famous
oyster beds produce less than ten per cent of the
product of a few years ago. This, in spite of the fact
that the fourth or fifth generations of a single oyster,
if they all lived, would equal in bulk a planet five
or more times as large as the earth. A single female
oyster lays from ten to twenty million eggs in a sea-
son. The death-rate is very high. The young oyster
furnishes food for herring and other fish. Many
mollusks also feed upon the tender young bivalves.
Many bivalves have a free-swimming young stage
in which they are much alike. There is present the
gland which secretes a fragile transparent shell which
is developed in the manner in which we gow our
bones. Soon, however, the young mollusk begins to
take on the habits and appearance of his own species.
Oysters and dams settle down into permanent 'beds,'
mumels and pen shells tie themselves by their byssus
to a rock or suitable place; the ship borer finds some
submerged wood to bore into where it can develop;
the rock-boring species drill out a comfortable, safe,
and permanent home for themselves; while the pec-
tens, cockles, and other species move about, enjoying
the freedom of variety.
BIVALVBE OB PELECTPODS 21
Some species of bivalves have an additional gland
in the foot with which they secrete what is called
the 'bysus.' This is a bundle of hairlike threads of
different lengths and thicknesses These threads are
used to attach the bivalve to some submerged ob-
ject, and are very strong. It is difcult to pull a mol-
lusk loose when it once has attached itself. Some
species can climb up and down on this thread in
much the same manner that a spider goes up and
down its silen skein. In the Mediteranen coun-
tries the byssus is gathered and woven into articles.
It has a silky texture and an olive-gold color. Gloves
and even articles of clothing have been woven from
these threads. The mussels, particularly the black
mussels and the pen shells, have this gland.
The pest commonly called shipwormm' is not a
worm at all, but a bivalve molluk. When very
small, they bore their way into any kind of sub-
merged wood, using their shells as files. Here they
extend their aiphons out to secure the needed water
and food, and keep going deeper and deeper into the
wood. They have sets of minute sawlike teeth on the
edges of the shells, and with these they can cut
through the toughest wood. As they push their
shells deeper and deeper, the body grows longer and
longer, until it is sometimes several feet long. Great
damage is done to ships by these creatures. Wharves
are destroyed. No kind of wood is safe from their
destruction. Since one female lays millions of eggs
in a season, and these in turn, in some species, ma-
ture in three months, it is impossible to estimate the
damage they are able to accomplish.
33 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
The following is only a partial list of the shells of
the bivalves that may be found on the Florida
beaches of either coast after a storm or at low tide.
This list is in no sense a complete one, but does con-
tain the shells most readily picked up, and is for the
purpose of identification only.
Nut Shells Family Nuculdae
Most of the members of this family are northern
in distribution. The southern species are usually
found in deep water.
One of the common little bivalves found on all
Atlantic beaches. This species occurs on the western
Lantern Shells Family Preplomatidae
The Lantern shells are thin and fragile and live in
A bivalve, rarely found on the Atlantic Coast and
the Gulf Coast. This family is practically extinct.
Ark Shells Family Arcid
The ark shells are found on both coasts of Florida.
They are very heavy, ribbed, with the valves equal
and of the same color and shape. There are about
one hundred and fifty varieties, found in all warm
seas. They are box-shaped; the hinge is very strong;
some species have red blood.
Tum TamVIBnav Aac (Arse tramuwm)
A small four-sided shell with opposite sides parallel
and equal; scaly, and marked with heavy concentric
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 23
lines; one and one half to two inches in length. It is
found on the Florida Keys.
TUE Y's WNG (Arca occidenai)
This ark shell is found on both coasts, probably
more frequently on the Atlantic side. A similar
species occurs on the western coast of Mexico in
the Gulf of California. It has a very decided re-
semblance to a turkey's outspread wing, and it will
be easily recognized. The shell is very heavy, white,
ribbed, and has brown markings which give it the
feathery appearance. The hinge is as straight as if
drawn with a ruler. The lining is chalky-white, edged
with brown as evenly as if done with a paint brush.
Some specimens found on the West Coast have
a fuzzy epidermis along the lower part of the shell.
This mollusk grows to a length of five inches and an
inch in width, but smaller ones are more frequently
Noan's Aim (Area umbonata)
This interesting shell is found mainly on the At-
lantic Coast. Brown, ribbed, thick, it has much the
appearance of an ark. Its outside finish is generally
worn off, exposing the white lining. The shell has
a warped appearance due to clinging to rocks and
when the shell is soft being shaped by the object it
clings to. Noah's Ark has the byssus gland in its
foot and attaches itself to rocks. It has red blood,
and also has a fringe of eyes on the mantle's edge.
The hinge is a straight line, but is weak, so the whole
shell is seldom found on the beaches. It can grow
24 FLOBIDA SBA SHELLS
to a length of five inches, but specimens about one
and a half inches long are generally found.
ICnsD Am (Arm 0uf~at)
Thi is a small species kindred to those of Cali-
fornia and Mexico; checked surface; =mall in sie.
It is found on the Florida East Coast, but is not
Tu Poammous Axr (Nedia odrmus)
This species is found in abndance on Flrida
West Coast. Its most distinctive feature is the thick.
black epidermis. One is inclined to believe that this
shell has got into ta or ship's oil, it is so thickly
covered, but soon discovers that this is part of the
ark's own growth. The shells are white, vey thick.
boxlike, ribbed; the hinge is very strong, so that
frequently the complete sheB is found on the beah.
The inside of the shell is chalk-white. When the en-
tire shell is viewed sidewise, it has a heart shape.
The Pmo Shells FmMly Phuide
These are sometimes called fan musels. The
wedge-saped shell is not unlike the old quili pen in
appearance. The valves are equal. The shell is thn,
rather fragile, of a horny substance, generally sailed,
and with iridescent inside lining. Many varieties
as found in warm seas. The shells are strewn over
the beaches of the West Coast of Florida. They grow
to a great me, and are often found complete. The
pea shells have the unique ability of spinnig a
strong ilken cord called the bysus.
BIVALVBE OR PEBLCTPODSB
PmanaL Paw Smu. (Arias riidg)
This is a triangular-shaped shell. The hinge side is
straight, and the opposite side is curved. It is of
horny texture with prickly erect spines The interior
is iridescent. It is plentiful on the Florida West
Coast beaches, and sometimes grows to eight inches
in length. Its most noted characteristic is the byssal
Ta HAIz.-NA-XD PmN SmHLL (Arina rrata)
The shells range from six to ten inches'in length.
They are thin, of smoky, transparent, horny texture,
and are covered with delicate scales. At the pointed
end the scales are so thin that the iridescent lining
The Wing Shells and Pearl Oysters Family
Live species of this family are now found only in
warm seas, although some fossil remains are located
in cold latitudes. There are approximately one
thousand fossil, but only one hundred and twenty
living species. The family Pteriidae is nearly ex-
tinct. The valves of the shells are always unequal.
The hinge line is straight and extended. It has been
said that the typical Avicula resembles the profile of
a bird in fight.
A member of this family is the pearl-bearing
oyster. Although the pearl oyster is not found in
Florida, it is of such universal interest that a few
details concerning it may not seem out of place.
The early Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians and
26 FLORIDA SBA SHELLS
Romans all valued the pearl highly. Much of the
wealth of the Aztecs was in pearls, and early records
tell of the fabulous pearls taken from the Aztecs by
the Spanish conquerors.
The best pearls are found in Ceylon, in the Persian
Gulf, the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Australia,
and in the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean. The
Western Hemisphere is not, however, without pearl
beds of great importance. Some of Florida's near
neighbors are rich in pearl beds. There are fisheries,
famous since the days of Cortez (1526), aloqg the
coasts of Lower California. These beds were badly
overworked and almost destroyed by the short-
sighted Spaniards, but after years of rest they were
reopened and today are an important factor in that
locality. Less important fisheries are located on the
coasts of Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia. Pearl-
oyster beds are also at points along the coasts of
Mexico and Nicaragua. From these American beds
some rare black, green, and blue pearls have been
Pearl oysters live at considerable depths and are
brought to the surface by divers, one perfect pearl
often meaning a fortune to its discoverer. The gem
is formed from the same pearly substance nacree) that
lines the shells. This substance is secreted to protect
the oyster from the irritation caused when bits of
sand or the larva of worms enter into the partially
opened shells. The finest pearls are found in beds
where the oysters are overcrowded and ridden with
disease., The pearly lining of the shell is called
mnother-of-pearl and yields, commercially, more value
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS
than the pearls, as so few pearls of value are found in
comparison to the amount of mother-of-pearl pro-
duced. Mother-of-pearl is used in ornamentation and
for pearl buttons and novelties of jewelry. Only
healthy oysters produce the best mother-of-pearl.
So certain is it that pearls will be formed that
artificial beds are made for the pearl-bearing oyster
and irritants are introduced mechanically into the
shells. The Japanese are adept at producing artificial
pearls. The Chinese even introduce small statues of
Buddha and other religious objects to be covered by
Different forms and colors of pearls are preferred
in different parts of the world. Orientals prefer
yellow pearls, while the black pearl is highly prized
in Spanish America. The pink pearl has a wide range
in color, varying from pale flesh pink to deep ver-
milion. The gray or smoky pearl is a universal
favorite with men. The iridescent or Oriental pearl is
very flattering to blondes, while brunettes look their
best in white pearls.
The gem of greatest value is the perfectly round,
opaque, and lustrous white pearl. Pear-shaped pearls
are valuable and desirable. Styles of pearls often
vary with changing fashions. There are pearls as
famous and as much written about as the celebrities
who have owned them.
Julia E. Rogers, in The Shel Book, devotes many
pages to the cultivation of pearls.
ATLnmc WING SmiL (Pteria colmbus)
The wing shell is found in Florida. It is from three
FLORIDA BRA BHBLLB
to four inches in length, and is a reddish-brown shell,
with long slender points. The inside of the valves is
Pamr OTrm (P eada rniat)
These are flat, square, drab wing shells with
fringed edges, so light that the crests of the waves
ast them high up on the beach
The Oysts Family OstreWd
The shels of the oyster are late-colored and
irregular. The valves are unequal, and are cemented
to a support. The oyster has no foot, no siphons, and
nobyssus cord. Thereareabout fifty living species.
Before the coming of the white man to America,
the Indians living along the coasts used oysters a
a staple item of diet. They dried or smoked them
and bartered them with inland tribes. The oyster is
widely distributed along our shores from Maine to
Texas and is found on the West Coast in San Fran-
cisco Bay and Puget Sound. The Western beds are
sown with seed from the East. The Virginia oyster
(O~ amr irgwinia) is the most succulent. New beds
are generally seeded with this variety. It is com-
monly known as the Chesapeake Bay oyster.
The eggs of our oyster are cast into the sea where
they develop into minute, free-swimming organisms
that easily fall prey to other sea enzatures and to the
vicissitudes of a marine environment. Their rudi-
mentary shell is fragile, but as it begins to harden
the oyster attaches itself firmly to any available sup-
port and thereafter 'goes no more a-roaming.'
BIVALVyB OR PBLECYPODS SV
The oyster shell is made up of layers secreted by
its mantle. The layers are added a the oyster grows,
much additional space is added to a dwelling to
accommodate a increasing family.
Julia E. Rogers, in The IShel Book, pages 42S-486,
gives a detailed account of the family Ostreidae.
Those wishing to know more concerning this mollusk
will fad her material very helpful.
Oysters of various kinds are found all along the
coasts of lorida, both the East and West, and in
many bays and inlets. They are also found far inland
along the edges of streams and canals. Most of these
oysters are not edible because they live in contami-
On the Florida East Coast, Fernandin has de-
veloped a thriving oyster industry, but the bulk of
the development is confined to the South Gulf Coast
Saint George Sound and Apalachicola Bay are the
chief locations. There are ve large canning factories
in Aplachicola and fish and oyster houses line the
waterfront. Oyster farming is a principal industry in
northwestern Florida and is one of the chief indus-
tries of the State. Commercially it amounts to
several million dollars a year and thousands of
persons re employed in its operation.
The State has appropriated large sums of money
for replanting oysters on the natural coral reefs.
Current and accurate statistics can be obtained from
the United States Bureau of Pisheries, Washington,
The Apalachicola oyster is eaten extensively all
through the South. It makes fine soups and broths,
SO FLORIDA BSA SHELLS
and is delicious when baked or escalloped. It has
a much stronger favor than the Northern oyster.
The shipping of fresh oysters to inland points in
Florida and throughout the South is extensive.
Not only the flesh of the oyster is processed, but
the shells also. The huge piles of discarded shells are
ground into flakes and shipped to poultrymen in all
parts of the world for the consumption by their
flocks. Crushed oyster shells formed the beds of
many of the early roads of Florida. Some of these
roads are still in existence. Even today some of the
lesser traveled roads of northern and western Florida
are made of shells. Oyster shells were used as build-
ing material by the Spanish settlers and ruins of an
oyster-shell house and an old Spanish slave-house
are still to be seen on Fort George Island, near old
San Juan Mission.
Tas or Coow OrwrTBs (ORaem preta)
The roots of the red mangrove tree in southern
Florida, on both coasts, are covered with masses of
these small, rough, thick oysters. At low tide, when
the roots are left above water, the oysters also are
out of water. Thus it is that oysters literally 'grow
on trees.' These are not much eaten because they are
small, and not particularly good. Some animals feed
The Thrny Oyster Family Spndydae
This family has irregular shells, firmly attached,
ribbed; the spines bear tiny mosslike scales. The
hinge is composed of two teeth in each valve. These
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 51
teeth interlock. The thorny oysters live in warm
seas, and derive the name from a resemblance to
a small hoof. The shells range through all shades of
all colors, and are much prized by collectors because
of their color variations. The oysters have been
known and eaten since the days of the early Greeks.
AMErcAx THOBNY OYBTrs (Spondyllus ecinatus amei-
The shells of this oyster are found on the Florida
East Coast. They vary in length from three to five
inches, and may be bright yellow, orange, or red in
color. The valves are similar to those of the scallop,
ribbed. The spines vary from needle points to heavy
spikes. It is very difficult to find perfect shells.
They are usually broken by the pounding of the surf.
PLarBD SHum. (Pliatula gibboma)
There are only a few living species of this bivalve.
The shells are small, with braided surfaces traced
with rusty hair lines. They accumulate a limy deposit
as they age. They are found on the Florida East
Coast, and are one inch in length. A smaller variety,
Plicatula mantdUi, is found on the Gulf Coast.
The Scallops. Comb Shells- Family Pectinidoe
There are two hundred varieties of the family
Pectinidae widely'distributed throughout the world.
Those found on the Florida coasts are among the
finest. The best are to be found on the Florida West
Coast. The shells are from one to two inches in
diameter. These bivalves are shaped like a ribbed
H2 FLORIDA 8BA BHELLB
fan completely opened. Earlike extesions project
from the hinge line. A mall notch in the side of
the sbel allows the bysal eord to emerge. The
foot is not well developed. The shell normally rete
upon the right valve, partial open. Thi eight
valve is pale and colorless, while the lft valve is
gayly colored and fancifully patterned. It is as if
nature painted only the exposed side. By qMuicly
opening and closing the valves the pecten is able to
swim. The young pecte anchors itself by the bssal
thread to the bottom of the sea, breaking it off when
it wishes to swim about.
The creature within is more beautiful than the
shell. It is brilliantly colored. The mantle edge is
double-fringed and waves gracefully in the water.
The eyes, placed in an even row, sparkle like diamond
points Occasionally bright yellow eggs, tucked
neatly into the folds of the mantle, are visible.
In ancient times a large pecten shell was used as
a drinking-cup. The Crusaders wore as an enblem
the large pecten shell found on the shores of Palestine
to signify that they had reached the Holy Land.
This shell was known as the 'Pilgrim's Shell.' Those
who made the pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint
James called their emblem 'Saint James's Shell.'
A few noble families still have the pecten on their
coat of arms, signiying that some ancestor had been
In France a large scallop shell is used aa baking
dish. This shell gave to cooking the term to 'ee-
callop.' The tender, delectable gallop is the muscle
that opens and domes the scallop shell.
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 33
Shell collectors price highly their pecten shells
because of their wide variety of colors.
Julia E. Rogers, in The Shell Book, page 412,
writes: 'To see hundreds of scallops the size of a
silver dime flitting through the shallows on a bright
summer day will certainly convince you that even
mollusks can express the joy of living! At low tide
the youngsters are to be looked for in tide pools and
in the shallows near shore. They snap their shell
lips together with a succession of clicking sounds;
at each contraction of the great muscle a jet of water
is thrown out under the ear, darting the body for-
ward, sometimes a yard or more, always in a straight
line. Changes of direction are made with great
dexterity at the end of a stroke, a zigzag course
enabling the mollusk to escape capture.'
CALtco SHmla (Peten gibb w)
The shells are found in greatest variety of colors
and patterns on the Florida West Coast, with a
diameter of one to two inches. The colors most often
found are bright orange, lavender with orange rays,
purple, brown with white rays, white ground with
mottlings of purple. The plain lemon-yellow is the
rarest color. The under valve is generally white,
with shadings at the hinge of purple or brown. One
may have a complete assortment of colors in a pecten
Loxe's PAw or KILtoan ScALwor (Pecten wodonu)
This shell is found on both Florida coasts. It is
a dark rich red ororange, with a diameter of three
34 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
to four inches. There are large knobs along the nine
ribs of the shell. The ears are not equal. This shell
resembles the spread-out paw of a lion. Perfect pairs
are often found in shell shops in Miami.
The File Shell Family Limidae
Only one file shell is found on the Florida East
Coast. The surface is rough, suggesting a file, and
resembles the scallop shell. The mollusks dart
quickly through the water, hinge foremost, by open-
ing and closing their shells. Their long tentacles
trail behind them. They have the byssal gland.
They build nests by making a web of the byssal
threads and adding to it fragments of coral, broken
shell, and seaweeds. The nest is small and funnel-
shaped. The adult file has little room to move about,
but it can run up and down, in spider-like fashion
within the net.
RouoG Fna Sam. (Lima scbrm)
This shell is found on the Florida East Coast, and
attains a length of two or three inches. It is covered
with a yellowish-brown epidermis. Beautiful file,
shells are found in Bimini in the British Bahamas,
east of Miami.
The Jingle Shell family Anomidae
The shells of this family are roundish, warped,
thin, and small. The valves are unequal in size,
color, and shape. A large notch in the under valve
near the hinge permits the byssal gland to function.
The jingle permanently attaches itself to another
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS
shell or to a fragment of rock. There is a great
variety of colors.
SMOOTH JINGLB SmEL (Anomia simplZ)
These shells are found on both coasts of Florida.
Those of the West Coast are more brilliant in color
and more fragile. The upper valve is the more
beautiful of the two; cupped, roundish, translucent,
solid color, no markings. The jingle shells are deep
orange, yellow, salmon pink, white, slate, gray, and
jet. The common name of this shell is 'Baby's
Foot,' derived from an odd scar on the inside of the
shell where the valves are attached. This scar bears
some resemblance to a child's footprint. The upper
valve is convex and the lower concave. A handful of
these shells makes a pleasant jingling sound. They
seem very fragile, but are not easily broken.
Julia E. Rogers writes in her Shell Book, page 419:
'The jingle shells when young settle upon some rough
surface an oyster will do nicely, or the hollow side
of an empty scallop. If there isn't room for all, they
cheerfully pile themselves, one upon another, each
firmly riveted to the one below by the slimy byssus.
Oyster dredges often bring up masses of jingles alive,
shells all ajar. A tap on one of the outer shells causes
it to close tight. As if signaled, the next one follows
suit, then the next, until in succession they all sense
danger, and are safely locked in.'
The Mussels Family Mytitida
The mussels are a large family, with many species
widely distributed. They hang in bunches on pieces
86 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
of submerged wood, or on the wharves. Some mus-
sels burrow; others build nests similar to those built
by the file shells. They are edible and used also as
fish bait. The valves are equal in sie and shape, and
are similar in coloring.
HoOKF MDasL (Mytibe m )w )
This is a thick-shelled mussel with beaklike hook
at the hinge end; dark or brownish in color; one to
two inches in length. It is often found singing
to oysters, and is abundant on the Gulf Coast of
Tumr Homm M L.n (Modiold etipm)
The length of this mussel is two to three inches.
The species found on the Florida East Coast and in
the Bahama- is oblong, with alternate rays of yellow
and brown. The West Coast variety has an iri-
descent, orchid lining, with deeper stripes of purple
or lavender. They are nest spinners. They have a
brown epidermis, worn through at the top permitting
the lavender lining to show through. Horse mussels
are not edible. A beardlike fringe hangs from the
bottom of the shell. The hinge is strong. Perfect
whole shells are frequently found.
P.a POD SaHU. or aBoa EATgr (LdthopIag biulena)
A smooth chestnut-colored shell shaped like a pea
pod; found on the Florida Key. The shells become
thickened with a limy deposit. When adult, they
bore into the rocks and cannot be dislodged.
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 37
Pandora SheBs Family Pwadeidw
Beautiful flat bivalves, found principally in cold
water, a few go south to the tropics.
TM Lm-Imn PANwoo (Pandora trilinea)
A delicate bivalve with iridescent lined white
shell. The lines parallel with the margin extend
around the shell. It is found on the Florida East
Lyonstas Family Lyonmda
Thin and fragile shells found in moderate depth
in shallow places.
TRAP aBmr Lyone~ (Lyonsi kyiina)
A very small bivalve found on the Atlantic and
Gulf Coasts. The family is almost extinct.
Cyras Family Cyrenide
The members of this family have heavy shells with
thin greenish, olive or blackish epidermis.
SOUTamIN CYraNA (Cywena csroinenti)
A bivalve that lives in the mud of brackish water
on sub-tropical coasts; two to three inches in length.
It is found on the Florida East Coast.
Thick-Sheled Heart Family Crassttedtidae
All the members of this family have very heavy
shells with ponderous hinge.
88 FLORIDA BEA SHELLS
THwmShmu- Mums (CrandUoia ybbn)
A thick-shelled bivalve living chiefly in tropical
regions. This species is found on the Altantic Coast
from Florida to Cape Hatteras. /
The Carditas Family Carditidae
The shells of this family are small but heavy,
triangular in shape, heavily ribbed with the ribs
radiating from one point at the hinge top to the
edge. They are white, -with ribs dark brown or
marked with brown spots. The valves are equal in
size, similar in shape and color. The inside of the
valves is chalk-white. The hinge ligament is strong.
BOA-RIBBED CABDrTA (Carditafloridana)
These shells are found on both coasts of Florida,
from one half to one inch in length. The bottom
edge of the shells is very straight. Many beautifully
marked varieties of Carditas are found on the western
coast of Mexico in the Gulf of California. One of
these is a deep pink with red markings. The Cardita
has the byssus gland in the foot; but the triangular
shape and pronounced ribs are the outstanding
characteristics for identification.
*The Rock Oysters Family Chamidae
This group of shells has round thick valves, with
spines. The valves are not quite equal. They have
a small foot, and long siphons, and are found in
tropical waters. They wedge themselves into the
crannies in the coral reefs. In this manner the spines
are often broken.
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 59
Lmar RocK Orern (Chama macerophiya)
The shell is found on both the East and the West
Coasts of Florida; pinkish-lavender, violet, or lemon-
yellow in color; length, one to three inches. It has
lacelike ruffled edges on both valves. The valves are
unequal and of irregular shape. They are brought up
by fishermen from shallow water. Some fine speci-
mens have been found at Miami. An unusual speci-
men observed there consisted of two perfect shells
grown together, one a lovely violet and the other
Cnmr BOCK Orer (Echinoe chama arcineUa)
This shell is found on the Florida West Coast.
It is small, seldom more than one inch long, white,
round, very spiny, and lined with a delicate purple.
The hinge ligament is strong. The whole mollusk is
The Lucinas Family Luciidae
The Lucinas have ribbed or latticed shells, small
and depressed. They live in mud and sand of tropical
THI PZNNSTLVANI Luca (Lucina pennmykanica)
A variation distinguished by diagonal furrows
about the posterior region; yellowish-white in color;
two inches in diameter. The shells are found on the
Florida East Coast.
THe Bvrrmcup (Lucina jamaicemis)
This shell is a thicker, less colorful, variety of
WU FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
buttercup. It is not the perfect bowl shape of the
buttercup (Loripinus chrysotoma) and the edge of
theinside only is orange-color; the center of the lining
is a rough white. This variety is also found on the
East Cost; seldom in pairs. The valves are not quite
equal in sie, but are alike in shape and color. It is
also classified with the Lucinas.
pFLODa LOcuA (L ciaafridana) /
The shells are dull white in color with yellow
growth lines, and are found in abundance on pro-
tected sandy beaches of the Florida West Coast and
the Florida Keys. They are small, about one inch in
Tria LUcuN (Lucina obicul aw)
Ridges radiate from the beak of the shell and are
crossed by fine concentric ridges; white in color;
diameter three inches. It is found on all Florida
Tua BunmUcur (LoripiNs alba)
The valves of the buttercup shell are equal in sise,
similar in shape and color, and they are found on the
West Coast of Florida. They are very beautiful,
delicate bivalves, bowl-shaped, white outside, and
the inside butter-colored. The hinge is fragile, and
a pair is seldom found. They are washed up from
the deep water, and are very abundant in all seasons.
To walk along the tide line and find these colorful
shells filled with sea water, which brings out the
rich golden color, is a thrilling experience. The
BIVALVES OR PELBCYPODS 41
yellow shows through the lining, giving the outside
a faint color.
The Cockles or Heart Shells Famly Coardded
There are about one hundred species of cockles,
found in many parts of the world. They have valves
equal in size, color, and shape. When the entire
shell is looked at sideways, it has a decided re-
semblance to a heart, and thus gives the species its
name. The European variety is edible. The cockles
go about from place to place, and have a well-
developed foot. There is no byssus, as the cockle has
no desire to stay put. They live in shallow water and
dig down in the sand or mud. They are found on
both Florida coasts.
TiE RoBI COCKL (Cardium isordia)
This shell is found on both coasts, but those of the
West Coast have more deeply colored interiors. The
valves are equal in size, shape, and similar in color.
The twenty-nine or thirty ribs start from the hinge
top and radiate out to the edge, ending in a delicate
scallop. They are close together and notched. The
outside is pale tannish-yellow with splotches of
reddish-brown. The polished interior shades from a
delicate salmon pink to deepest rose, with shadings
of purple, and some are shaded with orange. The
rose cockle is one of the most beautiful shells found
on the West Coast. The hinge is strong, and often
lovely pairs are found. They are one to two inches
in diameter, often smaller.
FLORIDA BEA BHELL8
Tur Ymuzow Coc u (CadinW mrieaiMm)
This is a smaller species of cockle, found mostly
on the West Coast. Both valves of the shell are
similar in size, shape, and color. It has thirty ribs
deeply chiseled, set close together, and notched with
blunt spines. The outside is pale yellow with deeper
yellowish-brown splotches, and the polished interior
ranges from delicate yellow to deep rich shades of
yellow. The hinge is not so strongly constructed as
that of either the roe or the large cockle, so pairs are
not found so frequently. Diameter, one half inch
to one and one half inches.
Tua LAren CocnLI (Cardium robutum)
This mollusk has a large, rather heavy, closely
ribbed home, yellowish-brown in color with markings
of dark brown. The inside is a red-brown color.
There are thirty-five ribs, rather flattened. The
shells are strongly hinged together and pairs are
found in abundance on the West Coast. The high
seas wash them high on the beach and they are
found up above the low-tide line. These shells are
largely used in making souvenirs, and many of the
contraptions in the gift stores such things as ash-
trays, inkstands, desk lamps, and what not- are
made of them. They are also useful as individual
baking dishes, as they withstand the heat of an
oven. They develop to a diameter of five to six
Eao Cocxn (Laesicodiunm orroatm)
This shell is found on both coasts: smooth and
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 43
shiny as an eggshell. The East Coast specimens ap-
pear as if lacquered, they are so highly polished and
are tinged with yellow, while those of the West Coast
are tinged with a delicate pink. There are two valves
equal in size, of similar color and shape. A variety is
found in the British Bahamas which is smaller, a
brilliant yellow within, highly polished, and called by
the natives 'Butter Shell' The egg cockles grow to
be as large as the rose cockle- diameter, two to
three inches. The shell is often found complete and
oval in shape.
The Venus Clams Family Veneridae
This family is named in honor of the goddess
Venus. As befits the goddess of love and beauty, the
shells are famous for their brilliant coloring, their
sculptured and symmetrical shape, and their splen-
did finish. Species are found in both tropical and
temperate waters. The tropical shells offer the
greatest variety, both in color and shape.
DImx DosemA (Dosinia discu)
This shell takes its name from its discus shape.
It is very flat, with not much room for the animal
within. The surface is finely scored with concentric
lines; the valves are white with a shiny yellow
epidermis. The hinge ligament is extremely strong.
There is a decided point at the bottom of the hinge.
The shell is white, but the epidermis gives it a yellow-
ish appearance. The lining is white. The valves are
equal in size, and similar in shape and color.
44 FLORIDA SBA SHELLS
ErunGA DoINsm (Dosnia okbaU)
This is a small Venus clam. The shell has heavier
ridge& than its relatives. It is found on the Florida
Ta Sun RAT or GlrT Canarm a (,Maoreoiadas nimbow)
Beautiful specimens of shells are found on the
Florida West Coast. The name sun ray is given
became of the rays which radiate from the top to the
valve edge much like the rays of the setting sun.
The shells are crossed with lines which give a plaid
effect, and grow as large as five or six inches in length
and two to three inches in width. They are polished,
pink, with the cross-lines and rays in pinkish-brown.
The hinge ligament is strong so that the whole shell
is often found on the beach. The flesh of the clam is
SPrOED CLAM (Macrocaelii macuQlas)
The shells are found on the Florida West Coast,
but are rare. They are oval, very shiny, and not very
large, seldom over three inches in length, with a
width of two inches. The valves are equal in sie,
and similar in shape and color; light brown with spots
of a reddish-brown. This is a very lovely shell. The
flesh of the clam is edible, but has a peppery flavor.
CmoumsBasDs VauNs (Chiown camosda)
The shells are found on both Florida coasts, but
more abundantly on the West Coast. They are
small with valves equal in size, shape, and color. The
narrow ridges cross on the surface of the valves in
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 45
a cross-barred pattern. The lining is sometimes
a deep orange, sometimes purple. The outside is a
cloudy white, light tan, or gray. The East Coast
has a brown species. The shells vary from one half
inch to one and one half inches in length.
ROUND CLA or HABrDSHnua D CLM (Veasi mewaria)
This is the clam known as 'Little Neck' or 'Qua-
hog.' It is the edible clam. The creature is active,
rarely burrows into the sand, and seldom attaches
itself by the byssus. The shell is very thick, ridged,
and the inside has a wide purple margin. The early
American Indians used this purple portion in making
wampum. The purple wampum was wokth twice
as much as the white. From its use as money, this
clam derived its name 'mereenaria.' On Cape Cod
it is raked up from the mud flats by 'clam diggers.'
In the South it reaches a size of six inches in diameter
and weighs often as much as five pounds. There
are clam-chowder factories along the Florida coasts,
one well-known one being on Marco Island in the
Gulf of Mexico. Great mounds of clam shells lie all
about the plant. The young clam is as tender and as
tasty as the oyster, but the adults become tough.
The Tellen Shells Family TedBnida
A large family, living in sandy or muddy shallow
water; widely distributed. This mollusk has no
byssal gland, its mantle is fringed, and the valves are
equal. The hinge is so delicate that one seldom finds
a complete shell. The tropical species are the most
brilliantly colored. This group contains some of the
finest of bivalve species.
46 FLORIDA BEA 8HELL8
TMn LUD TMuLJ (Tdema liats)
This is a rounder variety of tellen shells, pink-
rayed and elongated with a twist to the valves
distinguishing it from other small tellens. It is
found on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Suamm SmB=L (TeiSa radiate)
This bivalve grows from three to four inches in
length, and is found on the Florida East Coast and at
Key West. A fine variety is obtained from Bimini
inthe British Bahamas. Live specimens hiding just
below the surface of the sand can be dug up at low
tide. The shells are translucent, shiny white, with
three broadening rays of rosy color extending from
the hinge to the edge of the valves. There is a splash
of yellow around the hinge, and anoverlay of pale
greenish-blue. The effect is that of the rising sun.
BoOe PTALr (Telia alterata) i
The rose petals are more abundant on the Florida
West Coast. The curled edges of the shells remind
one of tea-rose petals; delicate pink in color. There is
also a yellow variety. It is from two to three inches
SarT TMEu~ (Tedina oai)
A small shiny white shell about two thirds of an
inch in length; rounded front and with pointed end.
It appears on the Florida East Coast.
TnH Imsa TMaLm (Teina iris)
An iridescent white shell with pink rays and circles
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 47
on each valve. The margins are thin and sharp;
one half inch in length. It is found on the Florida
Pnm TzLLN (Macoma teta)
This shell is found on the Florida East Coast.
It is very small one half inch in length; dull white,
with the rosy pink from the inside showing through,
resembling a pink thumb nail: dainty and fragile.
The mollusk is found on sandy beaches, living just
below the water line.
Semeles Family SemeUidae
Most of the shells of this family have uneven
valves; the end is usually upturned.
RAT=D Smonx (Semee profcua)
A small bivalve whose shells are flat and circular,
with the valves rayed with rosy pink, and a yellow-
ish lining; one inch in length. It is found on the
Florida East Coast.
Wedge Shells Family Donacidae
These live mostly between tides and are very ac-
VAMABL. WmaDm SHmXU (Donaxz riabilii)
This mollusk is also called coquina or pompano
clam. It is very tiny, scarcely reaching one half inch
in length. A delicious and nourishing broth is made
from the wedge shells. An Englishman, who had
become familiar with this tasty soup during the
48 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
winters spent at Bonita Springs, Florida, ordered
'Coquina Broth A Ia Florida' served as a special treat
to his dinner guests at the Waldorf Astoria. The
soup cost well over a dollar a plate, but the host was
amply repaid for his thoughtfulness by the delight
of his guests.
The dams are found in profusion on many Florida
beaches. They live in the sand just at tide line. As
the waves recede, they are to be seen burrowing into
the sand with their small pointed feet. They are
dug from the sand with shovels and sorted by run-
ning them through a sand sifter. It is not difficult to
obtain quantities of this tiny mollusk.
The shells have a greater variety of color and
pattern than the butterflies that they so strongly
resemble. There are pink, lavender, blue, green and
white, red and yellow ones. Plaid varieties are in
shades of brown and blue and yellow. A pattern
designer might find the color combinations of the
wedge shell very practical.
These shells are used in the making of countless
shell novelties, such as dainty flowers and butterflies
on hand-painted place cards, porti&res, and window
The Razor Clams Family Solidae
The razor clams live in warm waters. They are
easily located by the jet of water thrown up when
they pull the siphon into the shell. The shells are
long, narrow, and straight, with rasorlike edges.
They are able to dig and bury themselves vertically
in the sand. Razor dcams are eaten in Europe, but
not in the United States.
BIVALVES OR PELECYPODS 49
TnB Gamn Rason CLAM (Soen ,iridia)
This is the only variety found on the Southern
beaches. It is about two inches long, and has a light
The Surf Clams Family Mactridae
There are about one hundred and fifty species,
chiefly found in tropical seas. The shells are three-
cornered and heavy, on the whole.
SOLD SUBt CuLA (Spiwsula soidisima similia)
This is the largest of clams. The valves of the shell
are very solid, and growth lines mark the surface;
longish, white with yellow epidermis. These clams
live chiefly in tropical water; are edible, and also
are preyed upon by starfish and whelks. The clams
have strong feet, which enable them to leap when
trying to escape from their enemies. They burrow
into the sand, and develop to a length of seven
inches. The solid shell was used by the Indians as
a hoe for working their maize fields.
CHANELED LAmosA (LabiOw lineata)
The shells of this species are found on the Florida
West Coast. They are chalky-white, fragile, deeply
grooved, the front half swollen, and quite flattened
behind, with a delicate hinge ligament, seldom found
complete. They are so light in weight that they are
generally found high up on the beach. They are
two to three inches in length, and are found, though
not so plentifully, on the East Coast. The shell has
no lining, but the outside grooves plainly show
FLORIDA SEA 8HELLS
Little Basket Clams Family Corbulidae
Small shells with unequal valves, living in sand or
BAsFsr CLa (Corbula conrada)
An interesting little bivalve that lives in sand or
mud; found on the Atlantic beach of Florida.
Angel Wing Family Pholadidae
ANGm's WINo (Barnes coitaa)
The shells are found on the Florida West Coast.
The mollusks burrow down several inches into the
sand or mud and a number of them live together.
The valves of the shell are white, long, narrow,
ribbed, and bear a decided resemblance to the con-
ventional picture of an angel's wing. They grow to
be seven or eight inches long. The people of Havana
consider this mollusk as one of their stable sea
foods. The two valves are connected only at a point
near the tips: a lovely, fragile shell.
Shipworms- Family Teredinidae
Long worm-like mollusks burrowing in wood.
Very destructive to pilings and unprotected shipping.
Sm= WOBx (Btatia goudi)
A wormlike bivalve that bores into piling, ships'
bottoms, or other submerged wood, by means of its
shell. In tropic waters they often grow two feet in
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS
THE univalve is the mollusk whose house consists of
but a single shell. It is also called Gastropoda, or
belly-footed. This is the largest family and the most
widely distributed. They live on land and in the sea;
in salt water and fresh, and even in tall treetops in
The most common form of shell is the cone. It
begins as a small capsule and adds coil to coil at the
open or mouth end, each coil becoming larger as the
body of the animal grows, until it is full-grown. The
coils nearly always whorl to the right, but a few
whorl to the left, as the left-handed whelks. Some
have no coil, but are like inverted cups, such as the
limpets and the sea ears.
While univalves are much alike structurally, they
differ greatly in the size, finish, and shape of the shell
house. They range from the tiniest snail, no larger
than a pinhead, to the great horse conch of the
Florida Coast, which is two feet long and weighs
often as much as five pounds. There is also the sea
worm which looks like a petrified angle worm. The
outside finish of univalves may be smooth and shiny,
or spiked or knobbed or ribbed, and of a great variety
FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
The opening through which the animal comes out
of its shell is called the 'aperture,' and the shape and
size and ornamentation of this opening varies greatly
in different species. In some families there is great
diversity in the different species. Most univalves
have a strong door called the operculumm,' which
closes the aperture tight after the animal is inside
the shell. This door grows on the end of the foot,
which is the ideal place for it, as the foot comes in
last. With this door tightly closed, the creature is
safe inside its fortress. This is much the same idea
as the closing of the old drawbridge in mediaeval
castles! All gastropods do not have this door, how-
The most essential organ to the well-being of the
greater number of univalves is the long file-like
tongue, called the 'radula.' This tongue is used for
getting and grinding food. It is equipped with count-
less teeth which literally rasp or scrape the food to
pieces. The carnivorous univalves have fewer and
larger teeth, and the vegetarians have smaller ones
and more of them. An interesting fact concerning
the snail is that new sets of teeth are constantly
developing ready to take the place of the old ones
as they become worn down. The number of teeth in
some reaches many thousands. This tongue is some-
times twice the length of the mollusk. Some species
have jaws, but the tongue is what counts. The diges-
tive system consists of mouth, esophagus, stomach,
Univalves have a heart, liver, kidneys, colorless
blood, and a simple nervous system. Some breathe
UNIVALVEB OR GASTROPODS 03
with lungs, but more often they are supplied with
gills. A species of chiton has several thousand eyes
scattered over its shell, while some univalves have
only a single pair of eyes located in different positions
on the tentacles. Some have no eyes at a. But
with or without eyes, mollusks are sensitive to light
and dark. Some like the light, others find it dis-
agreeable. Some can see no more than to distinguish
between light and dark, while others have very good
vision, and can see for some distance. Some start life
with eyes, which in adult life become overgrown with
skin and are useless. This is comparable with the
peculiarity of the adult oyster, which fails to develop
the foot with which it begins life.
The organs of hearing consist of a pair of ear sacs,
like small, white points, located on the foot. There
are no auditory canals leading to the ear sacs from
The shell lining is called the 'enamel' and is
generally highly polished and beautifully colored.
The mantle is the fleshy part which covers the body
and lines the shell. Univalves have the senses of
touch, smell, sight, and hearing. The entire bodily
surface, particularly the foot, is sensitive to touch.
The tentacles on the head are adapted to feeling.
Everyone has watched the snail stick out his horns
or tentacles. Closely connected with the breathing
organs is the sense of smelL Those mollusks which
eat decayed animal matter locate it by smell
The broad sole of the foot of the limpets and
California abalones enable them to secure a firm
hold on a rock or other support by suction, so that it
64 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
is almost impossible to pull them loose. To surprise
them with a sudden shove or pry them loose with
a sharp weapon is the best method. They also use
atmospheric pressure. The limpet, scarcely one inch
in length, has had a twenty-pound weight suspended
from it which it has held up for a few seconds.
Wordsworth has well written:
Should the strongest arm endeavor
The limpet from his rock to sever,
Tis seen its loved support to clasp
With such tenacity of grasp,
We wonder that such strength should dwell
In such a small and simple shell!
The abalone is much larger than the limpet and
has much greater suction power. Authentic records
show that persons seeking to pull abalones from the
rocks to which they attach themselves have had
their hands so firmly clamped and held by this
suction that they were unable to free themselves
and have so perished in the incoming tides.
The sexes are distinct in some gastropods, in some
they are both male and female. All reproduce by the
means of laying eggs. These eggs are laid or stored
in the brood pouch of the female for further de-
velopment. One sea slug lays many thousands of
eggs in each batch. All are encased in an egg ribbon
which the slug coils into a cluster and fastens to
a rock. One land snail averages less than one egg
a day. Eggs may be deposited one at a time or they
may be enclosed in capsules. These capsules are then
joined into long chains or egg ribbons, or stuck into
a mass. These capsules are very tough, parchment-
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS
like, and the ribbon type makes a whorl around
a center cord. They are truly remarkable, and in
late winter many of these empty ribbons and cases
are washed up on the beaches.
The whelk egg case looks like a coarse sponge, and
each capsule contains many eggs. There are as
many as five hundred capsules to each mass. As
they hatch, the larger baby whelks eat up the smaller
ones, so that not a great many finally develop into
adult whelks. The eggs are laid in the winter. It
takes two months for them to hatch and develop.
The tiny violet snail has still a different method of
caring for its eggs. It secretes a clear gelatine-like
raft or air float which is attached to its foot, with the
eggs fastened to the underneath side. This raft as-
sists the fragile creature to swim.
Many times a small mollusk will fasten its egg
case to the ribbon of a larger mollpsk which is al-
ready fastened to a rock or coral reef below the water.
The univalves have not the great food value for
man that the bivalves have, but the abalones have
a market value in California. Snails are cultivated
for food in Europe. The English do not relish them.
Snail culture dates back into Roman history as
far as 51 B.c. The Roman maintained snail preserves
and fattened the creatures upon new wine and meal.
In the West Indies, the Bahamas, and on the
Florida Keys the conch is highly esteemed for conch
chowder. An unnecessarily cruel method of getting
the conch out of its shell is used. The animal is tied
to a taut line and allowed to hang there until the pull
of the heavy shell finally tears it from the shell.
56 FLORIDA SBA BHBLLS
Sometimes it will hang on for several days. There
are great piles of the lovely pink-lipped conch shells
wherever the animals are used for food. These are
sold as souvenirs throughout Florida. The conch is
dried for easier shipping to Northern markets.
Conch shells are used in the manufacture of
porcelain and lim, and cameos are cut from them.
Cowries were used for money in British India until
the end of the last century. Other uses of univalves
have been given in an earlier chapter.
The LU pets Family AcmIadae
The typical limpets are generally very small,
scarcely more than one inch in length. They are like
an inverted bowl, oval in shape, heavily ridged from
the top radiating out to the edge, which is faintly
scalloped. The limpet has no operculum, and is un-
protected. The animal clings to the rocks with such
tenacity that it cannot be picked off by its enemies.
The tongue is twice the length of the shell When it is
not sawing off seaweed or scooping out a hole in the
rocks, it is neatly coiled up inside the shell The
limpet lives in the small hole scooped out of the rock.
It goes about, but always returns to the sme home.
It has a very broad foot, which enables it to cling by
suction to the rocks or to a coral reef. Many beauti-
ful varieties are found on the western coast of Mexico
in the Gulf of California. In Central America there is
a giant limpet which grows to be fourteen inches wide
and is used as a washbasin. The Florida limpets are
UNIVALVEB OR GASTROPODS b7
Wmr IDrmaN LmPw (Acnmaa amduarm)
This is a Florida species with seven to nine rays of
black down the sides; tan or dull gray in color; one
inch in length, and oval in shape. It is found on the
Florida West Coast.
The Key-Hole Limpets Family PIwunridwe
A broad cone-like shell, dull, not pearly in texture.
This division of the limpets s distinguished from
the pure limpets by the slit or key-hole. Its habits
resemble the family Acmaeidae.
Kzr-HoLz Lcarv (FinureQ brbde niu)
This shell is sometimes called volcano shell owing
to its likeness to the ash crater of a volcano. It is
about one inch long, oval-shaped, like an inverted
bowl. It is found on the Florida Keys and at Char-
lotte Harbor on the Florida West Coast, on rocks and
coral reefs. The steep cone is deeply ribbed and the
ribs are evenly distributed. There is a small round
hole in the top, which gives it the name. It is grayish-
green in color. A similar species found in Bimini in
the British Bahamas has an apple-green, porcelain-
Sur Lunwr (Submwargila pumWa)
This is a very long name for a tiny mollusk, less
than one half inch long, found on the Florida Keys.
The shell is oval, pointed, with a narrow slit at the
front. The ribs are uniform and daintily beaded.
It is pale green or flesh-colored.
58 FLORIDA 8EA SHBLLS
The Top Shells Family Tochidae
The shells are top-shaped, lining pearly, with large
radula. The animals feed largely on seaweed, and are
found in tropical seas, the most beautiful specimens
coming from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The
outer limy substance of the shell is usually removed
to reveal the pearly iridescent foundation. Some va-
rieties of top shells are used in the making of pearl
buttons, pearl ornaments, and necklaces.
W Trr ImuND TOP Sma W. (Liona pica)
A heavy top-shaped shell with rounded whorl,
which attains a length of four inches. In color it is
pearly-green with wavy black markings, and sharp-
edged aperture. The body is fringed with two long
tentacles. It is found, but not in abundance, in
Charlotte Harbor on the Florida West Coast. The
mollusk lives on rocks and coral reefs, and is eaten in
the West Indies and in Central America.
FwmSDA TOP Sm.Lr (CaUioetoma euglyptwm)
The shell is pyramid-shaped, three fourths of an
inch high, with pearly lining. The ribs are overlaid
with rows of small white enameled beads, white
dotted with brown and purplish spots.
The Pheasnt Shells Family Phasine.idae
A small tapering spiral shell brilliantly colored,
with darker shades overlaying the more delicate
shades. It paces in the same fashion as the top
shells. Varieties found in Cuba and Florida are:
Phasiane, a qffinii; Florida species are PharianeUa
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS Ov
The Turban and Star Shells Family Twurbndae
The Turbinidae have turban-shaped, spiral solid
shells, with calcareous thick operculums and coils.
They inhabit warm seas.
STan Sami, (Atraea longipina spinuloo)
Marked with brown specks and streaks; one and
one half inches in length. Found on both of the
BRoAD Spn=D TURBAN (Adraea kdistpa)
Small triangular spines are found on the whorls
of the shells, which are dull in color, streaked with
yellow and brown. They are found on the Florida
STowN APPLi (Aiaea tuber)
Two inches in height and breadth; dirty white in
color, with greenish or pale brown splotching.
Found on the Florida East Coast.
AmarcAun STaoN APPL (Aatraea amerima)
1 Stony, with high cone; trifle smaller than the stone
apple. Found on the Florida Keys.
The Sea Snals Family Nerifidae
The sea snails are a large family, found mainly
in warm seas. They are easily recognized by their
resemblance to the common garden snail. They have
long tentacles; their eyes are quite keen and are
attached to the ends of hollow stalklike projections.
They are able to turn their eyes in any direction.
60 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
When in danger the eyes can be drawn through these
projections to safety, under the skin of the head.
Sea snails have a long radula. They live upon rocks,
in shallow water, feeding heartily on seaweed.
Baiamo Toora (Nwail pdfronde)
The bleeding tooth is about one inch in length, and
is found on the Florida Keys, dinging to coral reefs.
The shell has zigzag bands of red, black, and purple
on a white or yellow ground. The inner fold has one
or two teeth-like protuberances, stained a yellowish-
red, that in appearance are not unlike bleeding
teeth. The animal feeds upon seaweed.
Tmwuae mAmD NzRTA (NOFita tkeeata)
This snail is about one inch in length, and is
checkered black and white. It is found at Miami
and south along the coast, and clings to rocks and
The Staicase or Ladder Shells Family Epiton d.e
These mollusks have a small white polished shell
with turrets and whorls, related to the lanthinidae.
They have a world-wide distribution, many living
in tropic waters; called Wentletraps. They have a
protective fluid like the cuttlefish.
ANwouAT ScanA (Epitoniun angulata)
Strong and white; three quarters of an inch in
length; found on the Florida East Coast.
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS
LNBD SCALA (Epitomin iwafa)
Thick, with brown spiral bands; one half inch in
length; found on the Florida East Coast.
The Violet Sails Family Iw t idaee
These are delicate, semi-traparet snails, violet-
colored. They are found in both the Atlantic and the
Pacific Oceans, drifting freely in schools, near the
Vroxur SxNAn (lanisina ianwina)
A delicate purple snail, about one inch in length.
Too fragile to swim, the snail secretes a gelatinous
mass into which it pushes air bubbles with its foot,
forming a small pneumatic raft. By this means it
stays on the surface of the water. Its eggs are
fastened to the under-side of this raft. Should the
snail become separated from the raft, it sinks to the
bottom. Having no eyes, it protects itself from its
enemies by throwing out a screen of violet ink in
which it hides. Seagulls are its greatest enemies. The
snail will attack a jellyfish many times its own size,
biting off portions with its rasping tongue. Charles
Torrey Simpson at one time came upon a great school
of violet snails washed ashore at Key West. He
wrote concerning them, 'Before I came to the beach,
I noticed that as far as the eye could see it was a mass
of the most intense glowing violet color, and on com-
ing up to it, I was astonished to find that this color
came from untold millions of iamhinuw which had
been washed up during the night.'
FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
The Pyramid or Obelisk Shells Family Pyra-
Slender small spiral shells with many whorls.
OBmuua SHmu (Pyramidea candida)
A rare shell that occurs in Florida.
SaNor PTramI SmMu (Twubonla curia)
One third of an inch in length. Found on the
Florida East Coast.
INPBwBD ODOSC aA (Odolo0mia imprn a)
One third of an inch in length. Found on both
coasts of Florida.
The Moon Shells Family Naticidae
The shells are globe-shaped, solid, smooth, with
wide aperture, and large radula. The animals bur-
row into the sand for bivalves.
LTrrM MooN SaHm. (Natica cwna)
The shell is heavy and smooth, snail-like in appear-
ance, and is found in the West Indies, on the Atlantic
Coast and the Florida West Coast. It is one to one
and one half inches in diameter, and has spiral chest-
nut bands streaked diagonally with purple on a
whitish background. The interior is dark brown
shading into purple with a white edge.
DuPucm MooN SHmEL (Podinsio duploata)
This is a flatter, smoother shell than the typical
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS 63
moon shell, and its color is pale brown slightly
shaded with blue. It is about three inches in di-
ameter, with a ruffled sand collar, and is found on
both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of Florida.
FLAT MooN Sa UX (Sinum perspectwum)
A flat, solid, white, ear-shaped shell, different in
form and manner from the true natica. The body is
exposed. The animal preys upon the oyster, and is
found on the Florida East Coast.
SPorran MooN SaMLL (Sinum maculatum)
A dotted species also found on the Florida East
Coast, one and one half inches in length.
The Cap Shells Family Cpulidae
Cap-shaped shells with a spiral twist.
HUNGARlIA HAT (CapUtd uns ari us)
This is a small shell, from one to two inches in
length; almost as high as it is long. It is similar to
the limpet, with the outside rough, with a twist at
the top which resembles the cap worn by Hungarian
peasants. It is generally white inside and out, and is
attached to rocks or empty shells. It is found on the
Florida Keys. The mollusk feeds on seaweed or
minute animal particles.
Cup and Saucer Limpets Family Catyptraeidae
The shell is limpet-shaped with slightly spiral apex.
The interior is highly polished; exterior, porcelain-
FLORIDA 8EA SHELLS
like. Most of this family remain all their lives in one
place, clinging firmly to the rocks and shells of their
first environment. They feed upon seaweed and the
bits of animal matter that come within their reach.
Some species lay their eggs in a brood pouch.
CUP Am SIAuc LmPn (Crucibhlm )triatm)
This species is found on the Atlantic Coast. The
shell is less than one inch long, pale tan in color, with
ridges, and resembles an inverted dome. A cup is
attached to one side of the interior. Its likeness to
a cup and saucer gives the shell its name. It is very
rarely found on the Florida West Coast. Many
lovely and varied specimens of this limpet are found
at Kino Bay on the western coast of Mexico, in the
Gulf of California. One of the prettiest is called the
The Slpper Shells Family Crepidubdae
Slipper-shaped shells with a shelf on one end of the
SUwama LM"n (Orepidulfofanicata)
The shell is one to two inches in length, and is
found abundantly on the Florida West Coast. It is
oval, boat-shaped, with a seat in the stern end, and is
sometimes called 'boat shell' or 'baby's cradle.' The
seat is white and thin. The inside is brown, shiny,
and like porcelain. The slippers fasten themselves to
rocks, to an empty shell, or pile on top of eachiother
in great dusters. They take on the shape of the
object to which they are attached; hence some are
flat, while others are curved.
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS 00
FLAT Sn Hzm SxaLL (CrepidWa plana)
The shell is about one inch long, and quite flat.
The pointed end has the boat seat; the other end is
broad. It is generally white, and grows, flattened
out, on an empty shell, taking the shape of its
The Sundial Shells Family Architectoncidae
These are flattened cones, with spiral markings
resembling a sundial, found in all warm seas.
GBamNLATD SUNDIAm SmKBm (Architetonica granulota)
These shells are found from North Carolina to the
West Indies. The surface is like china. The whorls
are lavender, with white edges, marked with brown
dots in even rows, with raised granules all over the
surface, never larger than two inches in diameter.
The Perwinkles and Clink Shells Family
A globular shell, spiral, turbinate, and dull. The
mollusks live on the rocks at the tide line, or on roots
of the mangrove, with world-wide distribution,
increasing on the American coasts. They are used
as food in Europe and for fish bait in America. Some
varieties are becoming terrestrial.
CoMMoN PauwmIN CULiUtorina irronat)
One inch in length, found on the Florida Gulf
ANx~Gue AD PmUrwniKz (Lilorina angulifora)
A variety found on the Florida coasts and in the
00 FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
ZIGoAG Pzmwmnaxx (Ldtorina nicae)
One half to one inch in length, found on the Florida
Pm TY TAcramTn (Tectriw mwrwichu)
This mollusk, one inch in length, will live on dry
land or in water. It is found on the Florida East Coast.
NoDUMes TWcraZBI (Tectoriu nodulous)
One half to two thirds of an inch long, dull olive-
green; found on the Florida East Coast.
The Screw Shells Family TurriteUidae
The screw shells have long, slender spires coming
to a sharp point, with many whorls. They attain
a maximum length of five inches. Very few species
are found in America.
VArmmeAT Scamw SHmuX (TurriteU sarieata)
The screw shell has a length of two and one half to
five inches, with sixteen whorls. In color it is mottled
dark brown on a white background, and tapers to
a needle point. The common name is 'lady fingers.'
The Sea Worm Family Vermetidae
The sea worms have a tube-like spiral shell with
dividing partitions, in appearance not unlike a cork-
screw. The aperture is round. The animal is easily
mistaken for a worm, and is found on both coasts of
Vzoz.a-BaowN WORM SHMLL (V cMetus fiigrW)
A violet-brown, irregularly coiled shell, which is
found in masses on the Florida coasts.
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS 67
WoRn SmLL (Vermicharia pirata)
This shell resembles a petrified angleworm. It is
often six to ten inches in length, and is a light tan or
white in color. The spirals are close and regular at
the beginning, then go off at any angle. Frequently
the mollusks are found in a twisted mass. They are
found in shallow water.
MODEBT SIQUABIA (Siliquari modesta)
A typical pod shell of the family vermetidae
found in deep waters off the Florida West Coast
from Cedar Key, southward.
The Blind Shells Family Caecid.e
A minute spiral-shell mollusk living in warm seas.
The shell becomes cylindrical with age, causing much
confusion in classification.
FLORIDA BLND SHELL (Caecu floridanum)
One fourth inch in length, found on the Florida
SHnmmo Hops SmEI~ (MeioceO m nitidum)
One tenth inch in length, found in Florida.
The Chank Shells Family Xancidae
A large shell resembling the murex and voluta;
heavy and fusiform in shape; sculptured and in a
great variety of color. It is found in the tropics.
SpnrT VsBUM (Vaum muricatum)
A stronger species with sharp tubercles on the
whorls; white lined with pink.
FLORIDA SEA SHELLS
Small gray, button-shaped shells with rather
Fisuma MODU.U (Modulu floridawu)
A minute variety found on the Florida Keys.
The Horn Shells Family Cerithiidae
A small spiral shell, with many whorls, notched.
The animals live on rocks and among seaweeds.
Only a few species are found in America, but are
plentiful at Key West. They feed on decayed organic
BBowN HOBn SmELL (Cerikium floridnnam)
The commonest variety found in Florida, about
one inch in length, often colorless. The strong spiral
ribs are set with rounded knobs.
Other varieties found in Florida include the dark
horn shell (Cerithium airatum), Cerithium muasarum,
Cerithium litteratum, Cerithium ferrugineum, Ceri-
thidia scalariformis, Bittium nigrun, Cerithiopsi
puncata, Cerithiopis ubercularis, Cerikiopsis tere-
bralia, and Trifori decorate.
The Conch Shells Family Strombidae
Conchs are active mollusks found in tropical seas.
They feed upon dead mollusks and crabs. The shell
is heavy and porcelain-like. Its eyes are developed
on tentacles, the body is muscular, and the foot very
strong and well developed. By means of it the conch
can pull its heavy shell along. It jumps or leaps
UNIVALVES OR GASTROPODS
along. The conch of the West Coast is different from
the one found on the East Coast. The large pink-
lipped conch is found mainly on the Florida Keys or
at Key West.
CONCH (Stronbu giga=)
Found only in tropical waters, this conch is
probably the best known of shells, as it has been
widely used as an ornament in homes and gardens
and as a doorstop. A large conch was used as a horn
to call the farmhands to dinner on the farm of the
authors' grandfather, and this same conch had its
place for years on the living-room hearth. Children
for generations have held the conch shell to their
ears to hear the ocean roar. This is the shell of the
pink-lipped conch, which is very large when full
grown. They often attain a length of twelve inches
and a weight of five pounds. They live among coral
reefs, mainly on the Florida Keys. They eat decayed
animal matter, acting as scavengers. They have
a keen sense of smell and very good eyesight. The
outside of the shell is rough and horny, but the en-
amel lining is a deep, highly polished rose. The color
fades when exposed to the light. Occasionally pink
pearls are found in the mantle, and, while only semi-
precious, are extremely lovely. They also fade when
exposed to light. Cameos are cut from this species.
It makes a yellow raised figure with a rose back-
ground. The animal is strong and muscular and can
pull along its heavy shell by means of the sharp foot.
This conch is used as a food, and the shell is also
used for the manufacture of porcelain.