While others spend their time debating how to classify this shell, I stand in awe as to its unusual shape and magnificent beauty. It is another of those shells that makes you realize there is a master architect who designs all the creatures in the ocean.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. King James Version (KJV)
For years this shell has been classified as a member of the Turbinidae Family. True the animal inside the shell has many of the same characteristics as those of other turbo type shells, but its outward appearance sets it aside in a class all its own. When you put the two shells side by side the Angaria shells large body whorls and spiky projections just naturally tell you it needs to be classified as a separate families.
Sight Alone Suggests Two Different Shell Families
Angaria are found in deep waters throughout the Pacific Ocean. They come in a variety of colors and have varying degrees of spiky projections. Their orifices, or mouths, are circular and pearly. They also are known to be fluorescent. The spines and fluorescent quality serve as a defense mechanism that helps protect the animal from predators. Their operculum, or trapdoor, are use to block predators and is easily recognizable. It is thin, brown, and round. When you look closely at it you see a series of rings like on the cross-section of a tree. It makes you wonder if the rings have a similar significance like that of a tree and might reveal the age of the shell.
Look Close and You Will See Rings
During the 19th century the Angaria was considered a rare treasure to have. It is no longer considered an extremely rare shell but it is not one that you usually find in abundance in shell shops. It is a nice small shell to sit on a desk or an end table. it will definitely be an eye catcher and generate conversation.
We try at the Old Gray House to have the classical Angaria melanocantha available for you. Other species are available on advance request prior to your visit. Outer Banks Shells
Pictures of Different Species………