Mary and Dewey Parr

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** Select Shell Family by clicking on the image or family name







Condiae Family Cowrie Family Murex Family  Spondylus Family




Turbinidae Family Volutidae Family Argonautidae Family Nautilus Family




Chamidae Family Dried Sea Life Strombidae Family Trochidae Family








Myacidae Family Haliotidae Family Tunnidae Family Specimen Family







Olividae Family Cassidae Family Pleurotomariidae Family Large Decorative Shells




Dentaliidae Family Angariinae Family Xenophoridae Family Neritidae Family

On this page, you find shells listed by families. Everybody has a different way of learning about sea shells. My way is to classify the shells I find on the beach by families. I view shells in the same manner that I view human families. Your family for example. Even if you donít all look alike, you have some of the same traits or DNA. In your family, you have cousins, uncles, aunts, grandmaís etc. It is the same way with shell families.

When we write the scientific name of a shell we classify the shell by family. The first word tells you the name of the family. The second word tells you the species or group in that family. Be the same as if I ask you for your families last name and then your name. The second word, tells you the specify name of an individual group in that family. That would be your uncleís cousins etc. The third word tells you who grouped or classified the shell and what year he did it. I guess you would say that was your family historian.

Mary Parr
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Conus geographus, Linnaeus, 1758

Each member of a shell family has similar habits even though they donít all look exactly alike. Some shell families differ in their eating habits. Some eat flesh(Carnivorous) while others only eat vegetation (Herbivores). You really cannot tell by looks whether a shell eats flesh or not. This is one area that looks can be deceiving. Some like the spider conchs lead you to believe they are flesh eaters or will hurt you when they will not. The reproductive practices of each shell families are different also. One that is unique is the whelk shell family that produces an elongated egg case with hundreds of miniature whelk babies inside each tiny compartment. Ohers just release their babies as free swimmers in the ocean. There are many similar traits that each shell family shares. Shell families have similar ways to protect from predicators. Some shell family members inflict poison, make clapping sounds, produce smoke screens, disguise themselves, close their trap doors, etc.

The fun in shell collecting is not only classifying what family each shell you find fits into but becoming aware of the differences between the habits of the species. To expand the fun, you need to remind yourself that an empty shell was someoneís home. Once you begin to think about the creature that lived in that shell you open an array of subjects. Not just what did the animal in the shell look like, but answers to such questions as was it a food source, would it harm me, would it help me, how did the shell get its name etc.

I hope that you will find the same enjoyment in your study of shells and the mysteries of the ocean as I have.



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