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tached, but adhere often to the valves, and are extricated by opening the shell and washing. After the day's work, the pearls which have dropped out are selected and assorted. The small or seed pearls are worth from three to seven guineas per ounce. Those of half a grain weight are sold for about eighteen pence or two shillings each; and those of one grain, from three to four shillings; of two grains, from seven to nine shillings each'; of five grains, from thirty-five to forty-two shillings: those of eight or nine grains, if of fine colour and shape, are of arbitrary value. The finest specimens of extremely rare occurrence have fetched enormous prices, and have ever been considered invaluable, fit only to adorn the regalia of princes and contribute to the costly splendour of Asiatic potentates. These beautiful and unassuming productions, so delicate and varied in their tints, so elegant in their forms, are more highly estimated and more generally used as ornaments in Asia than in Europe, and consequently the most precious are retained by the Asiatic merchants'. 17. Pinna, nacre or sea-wing; inhabitant, a limax.
This, which forms the connecting link between the bivalve and univalve shells, is so formed as to possess equal claims to either division; the suture or hinge, by which the two parts are united, is of a different substance to the shells, but is hard and not flexile: of the byssus (a sort of silk) is manufactured various articles of apparel, and manufactories are established for this purpose at Naples and Palermo. The pinnæ are all inhabitants of the ocean; in the sand and mud on the shore of sheltered bays, they may be often obtained standing erect, or affixed by their beards to rocks and stones. A bed of these shells was discovered a few years ago in Salcomb Bay, near Kingsbridge, Devonshire, by Col. Montagu.
1 Burrow's Elements of Conchology, p, 71, 2d edit.
The animals are accounted a very palatable food, but require at least five or six hours' stewing.
Division I.With a regular Spire.
Learn of the little Nautilus to sail,
Spread the light oar, and catch the passing gale. The almost imperceptible gradation, in this beautiful class of animals, renders the present mode of classification peculiarly interesting; as we are not under the necessity of separating nearly allied families; a circumstance too often observable in the classing of most other natural productions. Our remarks on the last genus (pinna) will, with almost equal propriety, apply to the first genus in the present order, which has the appearance of being composed of two separate sides, but united by a narrow strip or keel of the same texture, which forms a near alliance to the bivalve shells. Most of the shells of this division possess a regular spiral curve, very conspicuous in many of the genera, but gradually be coming obsolete. 18. Argonauta, paper-nautilus; inhabitant a sepia
or clio. All the argonaute are marine shells, of exceedingly brittle texture, and possess great elegance of form. The antients are said to have derived the art of navigation from the animals inhabiting these shells; which, in calm weather, are seen floating on the surface of the water, with some of their tentacula extended at the sides, while two arms, that are furnished with membranaceous appendages, serve the office of sails. These animals raise themselves to the surface of the sea, by ejecting the sea-water from their shells; and on the approach of danger, they draw in their arms, and with them a
quantity of water, which occasions them to sink immediately. By possessing this power they are but rarely taken perfect, as, the instant they are disturbed, they disappear, and are only accidentally brought up in the nets of fishermen, or found left dry on rocks.
Two feet they upward raise, and steady keep;
And dash them down again to sands below. See our frontispiece, fig. 1, for the argonauta argo, or paper-nautilus.
19. Nautilus, sail-shell; inhabitant, a sepia. The nautili bear a considerable resemblance to the last genus, like which, they are often seen floating on the surface of the ocean. The larger kinds are entirely marine; some of the smaller species are found in rivers, brooks, and ponds, frequently adhering to the leaves and stems of aquatic plants, and to pieces of wood; others are found only in a fossil state.
20. Conus, cone-shell ; inhabitant, a slug. Most of the cone-shells are covered with an epidermis, under which the surface bears a most beautiful polish: all the species are marine, and are generally found on rocky coasts. There is no genus throughout the whole of the shell-tribes which holds so important a station in collections as the cones; and it is difficult to decide whether they are most to be valued for their rarity or beauty. The, admiral cone ranks first. Of the high-admiral alone the varieties are incalculable; next come the vice-admirals,
guinea-admirals, and others equally rare; most of which, when fine, are frequently valued at from fiver to twenty guineas ! The enormous price given for the cedo nulli has already been mentioned (see p. xvi). There is, perhaps, no other genus which affords' soi much beauty and diversity of colouring and marking, as the conus; the c. literatus, for instance, has its spots arranged in such a manner as often to resemble Hebrew, Greek, or Arabic characters. In other species the colours assumé different shades of cloudings, veins, marblings, dots, stripes, bands, &c.; each surpassing the other in beauty and elegance'.
21. Cypræa, cowry; inhabitant, a limax. There is no tribe of shells which, on the whole, are more beautiful than these. From their high polish and brilliant colours, they have derived the name, by which they are most commonly known in France, of porcelaines. The species are very numerous. In uncivilized countries several of them are used as ornaments for the person, both of men and women, and some are worn as amulets or charms against disease. They reside in the sand at the bottom of the sea, and are furnished with a membrane, which is so extensive, that they are able to throw it over their whole shells, and thus preserve them always pure and polished. These animals have two horns, and the canal by which they respire is situated on the top of their head.
The tiger-cowry (c. tigris) and money cowry (c. moneta.)-There are few shells of the present tribe more common in collections, and at the same time more beautiful, than the former of these species. It is found both in the Indian and Adriatic Seas. The latter are well known on almost all the coasts of Africa and India, where they are employed by the natives in commerce, instead of money, about two
Wodarch's Introduction to the Study of Conchology, p. 53.
thousand of them being esteemed equal in value to a rupee. The negro women, it is stated, fish for them usually three days before or after the full moon; and thirty or forty vessels are annually laden with them in the Maldivian Islands, for exportation to Africa, Bengal, Siam, and the adjacent islands, for the pur- . poses of commerce. Of the cowries, a very re- , markable fact has been stated by M. Bruguière, that, when the animals finds their shells too small for the increased dimension of their body, they quit them, and proceed to the formation of new ones of larger size, and consequently better adapted to their wants. -See our frontispiece, fig. 3, for the cypræa talpa, or mole cowry; and fig. 6, for the c. literata, or lettered cowry.
22. Bulla, dipper; inhabitant, a slug. The dippers inhabit the sea, rivers, lakes, and ditches: the texture of most of the sorts is exceedingly thin: the marine kinds are sometimes found in shallows, during the recess of the tide,
23. Voluta, volute; inhabitant, a slug: This is a very extensive genus, the greater part of which are natives of the tropical seas, and are only. found on the shores after storms; but few kinds are European, and these do not possess any great degree, of beauty, while the tropical kinds are amongst the most beautiful of the whole tribe. The marks on the music-shell (v. musica) exactly resemble the notes and other characters used in music. See our frontispiece, fig. 4, for the v. episcopalis, or bishop's mitre. * 24. Buccinuin, whelk; inhabitant, a limax.
The whelks are found adhering to rocks or stones beneath the surface of the ocean, but some few are terrene : their shells are generally strong, rough, and hollow, and their flesh may with safety be used for food. .