Top 10 Beginning Collector Seashells Article

Top 10 Beginning Collector Seashells

Looking for a new hobby? Collecting seashells is one of the oldest and most fascinating hobbies to engage in. Throughout the history of mankind, seashells have been used for everything from currency to religious ceremonial tokens. Finding them on the shore provides hours of enjoyment and their intricate design never ceases to mesmerize young and old alike. When you start a collection, here are some of the most common and interesting shells you will want to make a part of your collection.

1. Conch Shells - The conch is the common name applied to many species of mollusks. Most conchs live in colonies and are found in sand and grassy areas. They are sometimes called the sea cows of the shell world because they are herbivores, grazing on the algae and sea grass.

2. Scallop Shells– Scallops are one of the few bivalve shells that actually swim. This is accomplished by rapidly opening & closing their valves, sending the shell backward. Most species live in tropical waters, but several live in polar waters. Each half or valve of a scallop features a different coloring/design. The muscle is the part consumed by humans.

3. Ark Clams - Ark Shells number about 200 in species and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The outer skin of the Ark Shell acts as a camouflage, matching the surroundings of its environment, resembling stones on the bottom of the water. Ark shells are commonly used as bait and food throughout the Caribbean.

4. Whelk Shells - This large family of 800 species worldwide lives in shallow waters and in mud flats. The Whelk is an active predator, and pries open a clam or oyster shell by surrounding it with its muscular foot. Tropical whelks tend to be small and are often brightly colored or covered with rows of fine beads.

5. Top Shells - This family includes around 180 species found throughout the world. Tops vary in size and color, but all have a pyramidal shape. They are found in tidal rock pools as well as deep ocean depths and feed on seaweed and sponges.

6. Cone Shells - Occupants of warm shallow waters, there are between 400 to 500 species of known cone shells. Although they vary greatly in size and color, all are similar in their distinctive cone shape. Most cones eat other mollusks, but a few evolved species hunt fish.

7. Clam Shells - Clam shells consist of a wide variety of bi-valve shells in many shapes and sizes. Some are edible and some produce pearls. Most live in shallow waters and the species can be found in either fresh or salt water.

8. Oyster Shells - Edible oysters are commonly known throughout the world as a popular source of seafood. Their shell is porcelaneous and the pearls produced from these edible oysters have little value. Other types of oyster shells include the pearled oyster shells, thorny oyster shells, and jingle shells.

9. Moon Shells - These moderately sized shells belong to a family group numbering several hundred species. Exquisitely patterned, these shells can be found around the world. Moon snails are also known as whale or shark eyes because of the dark spot in the center of the shell.

10. Sundial Shells - This small family features a rather flattened shell with either beaded or smooth surfaces. The bottom of the shell is concave and resembles a staircase. The top of the shell has a pattern that resembles a pinwheel. The overall design is one of the most intricate in the shell world.

Copyright 2007 by Katie Hill

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