Hardcover, 288 pages, 251 x 191 mm, 1974
UK Blandford ISBN 978-0-713-70698-7
USA McGraw Hill ISBN 978-0-070-15292-2
The Encyclopedia of Shells combines comprehensive worldwide coverage of the seashells that are of interest to the collector with specially taken colour photographs closely integrated with the text. The illustrations are large enough to show not just the general appearance of the shell but to reveal details of surface pattern and texture.
The book covers well over 2000 species, arranged in systematic order according to an up-to-date classification of molluscs. Within genera, the species are dealt with in alphabetical order. The specially taken colour photographs, over 1500 in number, often include more than one specimen so that variation within the species or different aspects of its shell can be seen. A pictorial key is provided to assist the collector in identifying specimens.
Leaving aside shells too small to attract the amateur collector (less than 5mm long), the book gives a balanced coverage of the shells from warm and cold seas, with descriptions and illustrations for every commonly collected genus and some rarer ones. As gastropod species outnumber bivalve species five to one, this ratio is maintained in the book.
For each group, the reader can find a general description and information on habitat, distribution and approximate number of species. Within each genus, a comprehensive selection of species is listed, and for each of these the popular name (if any) is given, as are alternative scientific names, geographical distribution and a full description of the shell.
The editor’s introduction deals, among other things, with the biology, classification and identification of molluscs and outlines the history of shell collecting. A bibliography and a full index complete this indispensable work of reference for shell collectors.