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Shell Families
Tunnidae Family

Shell Families

  1. Large Decorative Shells
  2. Condiae Family
  3. Cowrie Family
  4. Murex Family
  5. Spondylus Family
  6. Turbinidae Family
  7. Volutidae Family
  8. Argonautidae Family
  9. Nautilidae Family
  10. Chamidae Family
  11. Dried Sea Life Family
  12. Strombidae Family
  13. Trochidae Family
  14. Myacidae Family
  15. Haliotidae Family
  16. Tunnidae Family
  17. Specimen Family
  18. Olividae Family
  19. Cassidae Family
  20. Pleurotomariidae Family
  21. Dentaliidae Family
  22. Angariinae Family
  23. Xenophoridae Family
  24. Neritidae Family

Tunnidae Family
  Tunnidae Family
Cast Shell

In all shell families there is some distinguishing mark or trait that sets them apart from others. In the case of the Tonnidae family they are light weight, have a large opening, and give the appearance of being extra fragile. They may look fragile but they are not for once again nature has come up with a way to fortify their shell. If you rub your hand over the shell you will immediately notice raised ridges. It is the ridges that give the shell greater strength. The best comparison to how this adds to strength is to look at the Old Gray House tin roof that has remained there for over a hundred years. It is not a smooth sheet of metal but it has V-style ridges or corrugation. The tun shell is corrugated and it is that corrugation that accounts for the strength of the shell.

It is not often we find members of the Tonnidae family on the Hatteras Beach. Occasionally I do find small ones even though their distribution is as a general rule confined to tropical waters. Probably the reason for this is that they lay huge ribbons of eggs on the sandy bottoms of the ocean which produce thousands of free floating larvae throughout the oceans of the world. As time goes on if the climate changes continue to occur world wide as predicted, who knows what new type of shells might appear on our beaches.

When it comes to feeding the tun shell is not a gentle creature. It is carnivorous and enjoys a good meal of sea urchins, fish, sea cucumbers and crustaceans. The animal Inside the shell is not blessed with the defense mechanism of most mollusks. It does not have a trap door or operculum. The animalís foot is longer than the shell and it emits a mucous to help it glide along. It is usually found in a sandy area at the edge of coral reefs.

One use I have found for the giant tun is to hang it in a shell hanger with an artificial plant in it. The one you will see as you enter the Gray House has been a huge attention getter over the years.

Tunnidae Family

Cameo, Bullmouth Helmet
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Angaria Shell

English Channel Urchin
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Angaria vicdan

Horse Conch
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