Over 100,000 kinds of mollusk have been recorded and some estimates of yet to be discovered species exceed a million. They have colonized nearly every habitat on the planet, ranging from high mountains to the depths of ocean trenches, and from the poles to the tropics. They range in size from that of a grain of sand to a meter in length and many hundreds of kilograms in weight.
The Book of Shells curates a life-size collection of 600 of the most significant examples, presented by one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars. Each shell is reproduced life-size, and the book is arranged by shell family, and by size within each family, providing instant visual identification and comparison. Accompanying text for every example is divided into charted specifications, a general “biography,“ a summary of related species, and an extended caption that provides a detailed visual description. Magnified details reveal the diversity of pattern, while miniature line drawings reveal the variation in structure. The result is a collector’s piece that is both a significant resource for enthusiasts and scholars, and the most visually stimulating guide to shells you could wish to find.
Jerry 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 best-seller 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.