Mollusc shells come in a truly
amazing variety of shapes, sculptures, patterns and colors. Jenneria pustulata (above) is one
of my all-time favorites...it's exceptional on all accounts...but there are
so many other species that are stunningly beautiful! This page and the examples page give
a brief overview of shell features and patterns, so many of which have
been given names, that one will run across in reading species descriptions.
Just remember that this is a mere drop in the bucket of the 100,000 species out
there, each with its own special combination of features.
The two photos below show most of the general morphological features of gastropod and bivalve
shells. Most gastropods and bivalves will display these general features, but given the huge
number of species in the world, there is huge variation and many specialized species, some of
which scarcely resemble these photos at all.
Below the photos are links to the quiz pages and to the examples page. Study the two photos
and their labels and then go to the quizzes and see how well you can do! The quiz pages also
contain definitions of all these labeled parts, while the examples page shows images of the
variation that can be found.