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The Living and Fossil Busycon Whelks: Iconic Mollusks of Eastern North America is the seminal book on Busycon whelks, including all 17 living species and over 100 fossil species. The book contains over 120 color plates and maps with pictures of these fascinating shells.
A trip to an open shoreline anywhere along the eastern United States will quickly introduce a beachcomber to the busycon whelks. These iconic American shells are abundant in shallow water areas from Cape Cod south to Florida and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and are often the most conspicuous large mollusks to wash up onto beaches after storms. Although the busycon whelks are recognized as being one of the most conspicuous and common groups of marine mollusks in eastern North America, their systematic classification and taxonomic nomenclature was uncertain at best. Over the past 100 years, these iconic American mollusks have been placed in no fewer than four different families, underscoring the wide range of professional opinions regarding the systematic placement of this group. These families have included the Melongenidae, Busyconidae, Fasciolariidae, and the Buccinidae.
In The Living and Fossil Busycon Whelks: Iconic Mollusks of Eastern North America, the authors follow the requirement of total evidence, utilizing several busyconid classification tools, including classic morphological characters such as shell shape, protoconch structure, and periostracal structure, and also the evolutionary history, fossil record, and biogeographical patterns for each genus and species complex, and where available biochemical and DNA studies. These are all combined in different ways to gain insight into a more precise systematic placement of these large and important marine animals. The authors bring together as many aspects of busyconid biology and paleontology as possible, including an iconography of over one hundred color figures representing both the living and fossil species with distribution maps for each living species and subspecies. These data and color images give a higher-resolution view of the origins and evolutionary patterns of this important and iconic American molluscan family.