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Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells

Identification, Ecology, Distribution, and History

By John W. Tunnell Jr., Jean Andrews, Noe C. Barrera, and Fabio Moretzsohn

Publication Year: 2010

An essential reference book for every collector and researcher of American seashells, Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells is a complete sourcebook and up-to-date identification guide, covering an unprecedented nine hundred species of seashells and mollusks that reside in the marine habitats of the Gulf of Mexico. Special features: Illustrated guide to the general features of mollusks Family overviews Descriptions of deep-water, tropical, coral reef, and bank species Information boxes on notable species Assemblage photos of dominant species in primary Texas habitats Checklist and glossary This reference contains 987 detailed and data-rich color images for even the tiniest shells, a valuable primer on shell collecting as a hobby, and a wealth of entries on the history of use and study, habitats and ecology, shell characteristics, distribution, biology, and identification. Covering species that range from Florida to South America, the Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells will also be a valuable resource for anyone interested in seashells of the Western Atlantic.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Series: Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Series, Sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

It was in late 1968 when I first met Jean Andrews, already famous on the Texas coast for her knowledge of Texas seashells, even before her first book came out. It was in her home, strewn with all kinds and sizes of seashells, that she gave me assistance with identifying shells collected on Seven and One-half Fathom Reef off Padre Island. The project was my MS thesis (Tunnell 1969) completed at Texas A&I University in Kingsville (now...

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pp. xi

It takes many people and organizations to compile the necessary information, locate and photograph specimens, and find all the pertinent literature for a volume such as this. Museum collections and the people who work with them are acknowledged, particularly for providing assistance with specimens and information: Houston Museum of Natural Sciences—Lisa Rebori, John Wise, Tina Petway, John McAlpin, Bianca Guerrero...

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pp. 1-3

Primitive humans used mollusks for food and their shells as tools, containers, objects of adornment, fetishes, and currency. Kitchen middens, trash mounds, and grave sites throughout the world bear witness to the dependency of humans on mollusks for survival and as an integral part of their culture. Indeed, much has been written about the way humans have employed...

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Chapter 1: Shells in Texas Coastal History

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pp. 5-20

For millennia, Texas mollusks have been important as food, and their shells have been fashioned into tools and ornaments and used as building materials. They even lit streetlamps in Houston during the 1860s, when a gas was produced by burning oyster shells together with coal. Today, some species continue to provide tasty meals, but their shells are mostly collected by amateur...

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Chapter 2: Chronology of Marine Malacology in Texas

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pp. 21-27

The early chronology of marine malacology in Texas has not changed from what appeared in Shells and Shores of Texas (Andrews 1977), but for the sake of new readers we reproduce most of it here and continue from where it left off 30 years ago. This is not intended as a comprehensive review of the literature but rather an annotated listing of some important works pertinent...

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Chapter 3: Molluscan Ecology and Habitats

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pp. 28-75

The 595 km (370 mi) Texas coastline (Fig. 3.1) supports a remarkable diversity of features, including wave- swept sandy beaches, jettied tidal inlets, shallow- water bays and lagoons, and intertidal bay shores and sand flats. While these physical features are common to the entire Texas coast, environmental gradients, both north to south and shore to sea, result in great...

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Chapter 4: Collecting Seashells

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pp. 76-80

Many people start to collect shells by picking up seashells on a visit to the beach or perhaps land snails in their own backyard. Whether they immediately become interested in collecting shells or wait many years for another opportunity to visit the shore, they often want more shells in their collection. There are basically three ways to build a shell collection: (1) collect...

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Chapter 5: General Features of Mollusks

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pp. 81-94

Seashells are the calcareous exoskeleton produced by marine mollusks.1 Although not all mollusks have a shell, and other organisms produce a molluscan-like shell (e.g., foraminifera, polychaetes, barnacles, brachiopods; see Gutierrez 2006), seashells usually refer to marine mollusks, the topic of this book...

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Chapter 6: Species Accounts

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pp. 97-392

This chapter describes a total of 900 species of Texas seashells and illustrates them with more than 2000 photographs. Over the next decade, regional faunal studies and exploration will likely increase this number to 1000 or more as new species are described. This book differs from the 1977 Andrews book in that each of the 6 classes of mollusks and each family...


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pp. 393-432


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pp. 433-451


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pp. 453-478


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pp. 479-512

E-ISBN-13: 9781603443371
E-ISBN-10: 1603443371
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603441414
Print-ISBN-10: 1603441417

Page Count: 512
Illustrations: 987 color, 12 b&w photos. 15 maps. 18 line art. 3 figs. 2 tables. Glossary. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Series, Sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

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Subject Headings

  • Mollusks -- Ecology -- Texas -- Gulf Region -- Encyclopedias.
  • Shells -- Texas -- Gulf Region -- Encyclopedias.
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