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Seashells belong to the phylum Mollusca, which contains about 100.000 species grouped into seven classes, according to their mouth, foot, gills, nervous system and shell: Aplacophora, Monoplacophora, Poliplacophora, Gastropoda, Scaphopoda, Bivalvia and Cephalopoda.

About all classes include mollusks with shells; only the aplacophora and most member of cephalopoda, which are the most advanced mollusks, lack an external shell.

The color of the seashells is mostly produced by special pigments which deposite in the uppermost calcareous layer of the shell. Several mollusks have special chromogenic glands which can secrete, continuously or intermittently, colored pigments which stain the carbonatic ordinary white shell.
In addition to color, the seashells are also distinguished by special ornamentation, growth lines, spines, ridges, which depends on the secreting activity of the mantle.

The shape of many seashells show an astonishing variability: particularly, among the gastropods, the shell is generally spiral-shaped, and forms whorls that gradually increase in size; in other cases, a system of irregular spirals leads to the formation of rounded, globular shells, or the spirals are turred, fusiform or funel-shaped.

The most beautiful and colorful seashells can be found in warm, shallow waters, most near coral reefs; on the contrary white and colorless shells are typical of arctic and deep-sea mollusks.

As regard their distribution, seashells are widespread in about all the zoogeographical provinces, being most successfull in the temperate, tropical and subtropical areas and Caribbean.

Beside living forms, more than 30.000 fossil seashell species, for the most part belonging to cephalopods (Ammonites), are known from Lower Cambrian to Cenozoic era.


CEPHALOPODA

GASTROPODA

BIVALVIA

SCAPHOPODA

POLYPLACOPHORA



CEPHALOPODA

Nautilidae
Nautilus macromphalus Sowerby
Nautilius pompilius Lamarck

GASTROPODA

Patellidae
Cellana nigrolineata Reeve

Cymatiidae
Apollon (Biplex) perca Perry
Cymbium olla L.
Cymbium pepo Lightfoot
Cymbium cymbium (L.)
Charonia nodifera (Lamarck)

Trochidae
Bathybembix argenteoniteus Lischke
Clanculus pharaonius L.

Bursidae
Tritonalia (Bursa) rubeta gigantea (Smith)

Strombidae
Strombus gigas L.
Strombus latissimus L.
Lambis truncata truncata Lightfoot

Terebridae
Sabula oximeris L.
Sabula dimidiata L.

Turridae
Epitonium clathrus (L.)
Cerithium vulgata Burg.
Turritella triplicata Lam.
Thatcheria mirabilis Angas
Clathrus clathrus (L.)
Clava vergatus (L.)

Mitridae
Mitra stictica (Link)
Mitra papalis (Link)

Conidae
Conus (Cylinder) textile (L.)
Conus (Regiconus) aulicus (L.)
Conus arenatus Bruguiere
Conus betulinus (L.)
Conus marmoreus (L.)
Conus striatus (L.)
Conus generalis (L.)
Conus imperialis (L.)

Epitoniidae
Epitonium scalare L.

Cypraeidae
Cypraea carneola (L.)
Cypraea (Talparia) argus (L.)
Cypraea vitellus (L.)
Cypraea diliculum Reeve
Cypraea (Monetaria) annulus (L.) (ventral view)
Cypraea (Monetaria) annulus (L.) (dorsal view)
Cypraea (Macrocypraea) cervinetta Kiener
Cypraea (Luria) lurida (L.)
Mauritia mauritiana (L.)
Talparia talpa (L.)
Cypraea (Monetaria) moneta (L.)
Mauritia (Arabica) arabica Schilder & Schilder

Muricidae
Pterinutus centrifuga (Hinds)
Murex ambiguus Reeve
Murex palmarosae Lamarck

Thaididae
Drupa morum Röding

Coralliophilidae
Coralliophila alucoides Blainville

Aporrhaidae
Aporrhais pespelecani (L.)

Haliotidae
Haliotis lamellosa Lamarck

Pleurotomaridae
Pleurotomaria (Mikadotrochus) hirasei (Pilsbry)

Olividae
Oliva sericea Johnson

Cassididae
Cassis tuberosa L.
Galeodea echinophora L.
Semicassis undulata (Gmelin)

Triviidae
Trivia europaea Montagu

Cancellariidae
Cancellaria cancellata L.

Volutidae
Melo miltonis Gray
Voluta maculata (Iredale)
Voluta minuta L.
Voluta zebra Leach
Voluta damoni Gray
Melo umbelicatus Brad.

Architectonicidae
Architectonica perspectiva L.

BIVALVIA

Tridacnidae
Tridacna squamosa Lamarck

Glycymerididae
Glycymeris glycymeris L.

Glossidae
Glossoderma cor (L.)
Codakia exasperata (Reeve)

Veneridae
Pitar lupanaria Lesson
Megapitaria squalida Sow
Tapes litetrata L.
Circomphalus plicata Gm.
Lioconcha castrensis L..
Bassina yatei Gray.
Macrocallista nimbosa Lightfoot
Circe scripta L.
Bassina disjecta Perry
Callista erycina L.
Tivela planulata Brad & Sow

Pteriidae
Pteria hirundo (L.)

Cardiidae
Vasticardium burchardi Dunker
Nemocardium bechei Reeve

Mactridae
Mactra corallina L.
Callista chione L.

Pectinidae
Clamys (Mimachlamys) nobilis Reeve

Malleidae
Malleus albus (Lamarck)
Pholas dactylus L.

Spondylidae
Spondylus gaederopus L.
Spondylus sinensis Sow.

POLYPLACOPHORA

Ischnochitonidae
Tonicella lineata Wood
Stenoplax conspicua Dall

Mopaliidae
Mopalia muscosa Gould
Katharina tunicata Wood

SCAPHOPODA

Dentaliidae
Dentalium vernedei Sow
Dentalium weinkauffi Dunker
Dentalium crocinum Pilsbry
Dentalium formosum Adams & Reeve
Dentalium floridense Henderson


WWW Related Sites

Internet Resources for Conchologists
The Cephalopod Page
Bishop Museum of Malacology
ANSP Malacology Collection
Florida Museum of Natural History


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