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Gorgeous pictures of mollusc shells reveal their magnificence and variety


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Photographer Kevin Webb

THE fascinating range of mollusc shells is showcased in these placing pictures of a part of the shell assortment on the Natural History Museum in London. The pictures are taken from Interesting Shells, a brand new guide by Andreia Salvador, senior curator of Marine Mollusca on the museum. Containing greater than 8 million specimens, the museum’s shell assortment is among the largest on this planet.

Molluscs are invertebrates – soft-bodied animals with out an inside skeleton – and embrace snails, oysters and cuttlefish, in addition to some organisms that don’t have a visual shell in any respect, like slugs. They can vary in dimension from snails lower than 2 millimetres lengthy to large squid, which might attain 13 metres in size, writes Salvador.

The prime row of pictures exhibits: the shells of a Venus comb sea snail, an episcopal mitre sea snail, a marbled cone sea snail, a spiny Venus clam and a Lazarus jewel field clam.

The photograph at center proper exhibits a shinbone tibia gastropod, one other species of sea snail.

The backside row of pictures exhibits: the shell of a inexperienced tree snail, West Indian worm shells and Cuban land snails.

These laborious exoskeletons within the pictures are used as safety in opposition to the surroundings and predators. The shells are product of calcium carbonate and a protein known as conchiolin, which, as Salvador writes, are secreted by the mantle, a layer of tissue overlaying the smooth elements of the physique. As the mollusc grows, new shell is secreted, making extra room for the animal.

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