Dip into the intriguing world of shells with this beautifully illustrated guide to 75 weird and wonderful examples.
When we pick up a shell on the beach, we notice its beautiful shape or attractive colours, but how often do we consider what it tells us about the creature that made it, and the evolutionary journey that led to its particular characteristics? The Little Book of Shells introduces you to the extraordinary variety of forms into which molluscs mould their shells, and the impressive types of external protection they have developed for a range of habitats.
Intricate structures shown here range from the tapering whorls of a bell clapper to the spectacular spines of the Venus Comb Murex, from the spiral chambers of a nautilus to the frilly ribs of the wedding cake venus. These distinctive features of shells not only tell us about their genealogy, but also serve as an archive of the animal's life, indicating its size, habitat and growth pattern. And this gallery of pearl oysters, periwinkles, cowries and many more illustrates how shells can be as delicate as porcelain, coloured with iridescent pastels, or boldly patterned with a glossy sheen.
The Little Book of Shells combines stunning images with fascinating facts in a handy format.
M. G. Harasewych is Curator of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., which houses one of the world's largest mollusk collections. He has discovered a variety of new species (including the example on our cover), written widely for journals and periodicals, and authored the bestseller Shells: Jewels from the Sea in 1989.
Dr. Fabio Moretzsohn has a doctorate in Zoology and is a researcher for the Harte Research Institute in Texas.