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Sculptures by Phyllis Bone

Molluscous Animals and Shells

Molluscous Animals

Vermes and Zoophytes

Molluscous animals, such as cuttle-fish, the inhabitants of shells, etc. Vermes or worms, and Zoophytes, or animals of the coral and other allied kinds, ought all to be preserved in spirits; and in the two former classes, viz. the Mollusca and Vermes, the spirit of wine should be injected into the intestines, by means of a syringe, to prevent the putrefaction of the internal parts, and the consequent destruction of the organs of digestion, respiration, and of the nervous system. Many Zoophytes or Corals, or rather their houses, may be preserved dry; but fragments of every species ought to be put into spirits, that the real structure of the animal may be discovered.


Shells, or the coverings of Molluscous animals, are anxiously sought after by the naturalist, not only on account of their great beauty, but also from their intimate connection with the various fossils species met in rocks of different kinds. The best live shells are collected by means of a trawling-net, such as is used by fishermen, if the depths are not too great; they are also brought up by the cable in weighing anchor, the leg-line and in sounding.

After a storm, good shells may be picked up on sea beaches or shores, as the violent agitation of the ocean in a tempest separates them from their native beds, and often casts them on the shore. Shells that have been much tossed about by the waves, are of less value than fresh ones but these, when other specimens are not to be got, ought to be carefully collected.

Many interesting shells are found in rivers and lakes; and numerous species occur on the surface of the land. Fresh shells, or those in which the animal is still alive, ought to be thrown into hot water, the temperature of which may be gradually brought to the boiling point, by the repeated additions of hotter portions, by which means the animal will be killed. The shells are allowed to cool for two or three minutes, and then the animal is picked out.