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The Hawaiian archipelago is the most isolated archipelago on Earth. Stretching 2,500 km across the Central Pacific it is 3,500 km from the nearest continental land mass. This isolation has contributed to the evolution of a unique terrestrial ecosystem comprised mostly of endemic species. So vast is the area of the archipelago and so high is the rate of endemicity that there is no other place on earth like it.
The Volume on the Sea Shells covers 1,333 species. The percentage of endemism for the marine snails is the highest recognized for any Pacific island group with an estimated endemicity of close to 21%. The whole diversity of the archipelago's sea shells – including polyplacophores, gastropods, bivalves, scaphopods as well as cephalopods - is figured on 225 full-color plates with 2,828 images. The Land Shells are represented by 14 families with 749 described species and 345 subspecies. The whole diversity is figured on 186 full-color plates, showing 3,117 images and 363 distribution maps.