The Book of Shells: A Life-Size Guide to Identifying and Classifying Six Hundred Seashells

Want to learn about shells? Well you’ve come to the right place. This The Book of Shells: A Life-Size Guide to Identifying and Classifying Six Hundred Seashells is awesome for everything you always wanted to know about shells. Beachcombing for beautiful or unusual seashells remains a popular pastime. Identification of the many thousands of species of shell-producing mollusks can pose a challenge, however. Authored by a pair of subject specialists with an emphasis on larger and more familiar species, The Book of Shells provides an excellent introduction to the major classes of sea-living mollusks worldwide. Students and the lay enthusiast will find the 600 entries accessible and engaging. Representing a small portion of the known species of mollusks, the shells depicted here are generally the most familiar, although a few rare and newly discovered forms are included as well. Uniformly one page in length, each entry follows a standard format. A table lists the family, shell-size range, distribution, abundance, depth, habitat, feeding habit, and the presence or absence of an operculum. A color range map, genus and species and common name, a paragraph-long description of the species, a listing of related species, a color life-size illustration, and, for small shells, a larger, more detailed image complete the information. A taxonomic organization defines the five sections: chitons, bivalves, scaphopods, gastropods, and cephalopods. Species are arranged by physical size, from smallest to largest, within each family. Supplementary materials include essays on shell characteristics and shell collecting and a basic guide to identifying seashells. The 2,400 illustrations comprise nineteenth-century engravings as well as photographs. To capture detail, tiny shells were photographed using a scanning electron microscope. Appendixes include a glossary, the evolutionary classification of the Mollusca, an index of species by common name, and an index of species by scientific name. Distinguished by outstanding color visuals, The Book of Shells is highly recommended for libraries in need of an overview of seashells worldwide. –Nancy Cannon