A Manual of Conchology According to the System Laid Down by Lamarck, With the Late Improvements by De Blainville. Exemplified and Arranged For the Use of Students.
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MANUAL OF CONCHOLOGY,
TO THE SYSTEM LAID DOWN
WITH THE LATE IMPROVEMENTS
BY DE BLAINVILLE.
EXEMPLIFIED AND ARRANGED FOR THE USE OF STUDENTS.
Conchology or Testaceology is a numerous and beautifulbranch of Natural History, treating of the testaceous coveringof animals; perhaps none but the department of Floracan vie with it in variety, symmetry of form, and rich colouring.It has ever excited admiration, and obtained a prominentsituation in the cabinet; and so great are the facilitiesafforded at the present day to procure specimens and obtaina knowledge of this science, that it has become one of therequisites of a finished education. Shells are found in allparts of the world, both on land and in water; but the mostbeautiful and valuable species are found between the tropics.
At first they were regarded as pleasing curiosities, andprized only on that account; but the investigations of scientificmen have proved that the study of this science is notonly interesting, but useful. Much valuable information hasalready been obtained, and, from the investigations of modernnaturalists, much more may be anticipated.
So intimate is the connexion between Conchology andGeology, that a knowledge of the one is indispensable tothe study and acquirement of the other. The geologist willdraw much advantage from a close study of the testaceouscovering of molluscous animals to aid him in determiningthe identity or the superposition of the different strata of theivearth and the extraordinary changes it has undergone; for,as Bergman elegantly says, “fossil shells, coral, and woodare the only three remaining medals of Creation.” He willsee in the innumerable quantity of these animals, succeedingeach other from generation to generation in the depth of theseas, one of the evident causes of the growth and increaseof islands and continents.
But man may find in the knowledge of Mollusca applicationsstill more direct to his well being in society, both as tothe advantages and disadvantages to be derived from them:thus a great number of species are proper for food, as oysters,mussels, &c., which are objects of commercial speculations.The Pinna furnishes the Italians with materials fora rich dress, and the pearl, so much prized by the Orientals,by princes, and particularly by the ladies, as a modest andbeautiful ornament, is produced by a disease of the animalsin certain species of shells. It was this knowledge whichmade the celebrated Linnæus imagine that it was possibleto form an artificial pearlery in the rivers of Sweden. Themother of pearl, so much employed as an ornament in articlesof luxury, is only the interior lining of certain univalveor bivalve shells. Painting draws from some of these animalsmany colours, valuable not so much for their beautyas their usefulness, as Chinese ink and sepia.
The brightest and richest colour known by the ancients,and used by them for the celebrated Tyrian purple dye, isproduced by animals at this time known by the name ofPurpura.
The Teredo attacks the wood of our vessels, and oftendoes much injury; therefore the knowledge of its manners,vhabits, and customs must be of great importance in countriesinfested with them, so as to be able to provide a remedyagainst them. Snails and slugs are also enemies much tobe dreaded in our gardens.
Lamarck, in his last work, the result of the successiveand continual labours of his whole life and those of his contemporaries,has rendered a very great service to science,but especially to conchology, by describing, or, at least, characterizingthe numerous species of shells in his own splendidcabinet. It may be proper here to remark, that a partof Lamarck’s cabinet is now in the possession of Isaac Lea,Esq., of Philadelphia, to whom we are much indebted forvaluable assistance. To Dr. Comstock, and the Rev. W.Turner, of Hartford, Conn., we are much indebted for kindfavours; their aid has greatly facilitated our labours.
In this Manual of Conchology we have endeavoured togive a free translation of Lamarck’s system, as simplifiedby De Blainville; and, in order to facilitate as much as possiblethe study of this beautiful and interesting science, wehave divested it of numerous technicalities, and divided itinto four classes: Annelides, Cirrhipedes, Conchifera, andMollusca.
To each class we have assigned its various families, toeach family its genera, and to each genus its living species;thereby making it plain and within the reach of the meanestcapacity. A type of almost every genus is given, exceptingonly those shells which, from their similarity to other genera,may easily be classed.
It was deemed advisable, as this is intended for an easyintroduction to the science, to omit many divisions and subdivisions,viwhich would only serve to perplex and render theattainment more difficult.
As the Naiades, or shells of this country, are given in severalvaluable scientific works lately published, we have onlyslightly touched them in the place they are intended to occupy.
We cannot expect that the work now presented to the publicis free from imperfections; but we ask for their lenity andkind forbearance to excuse whatever defects there may be inour humble attempts to advance the cause of science. Conchology,like other departments of natural history, is progressing;and that which is given to-day is almost alwayssusceptible of being modified to-morrow; should this workbe well received, it is our intention to give, as soon as practicable,an enlarged work, containing even the minute microscopicshells and the fossils, with plates containing types ofas many species of the genera as can possibly be obtained.
The plates were drawn and coloured with great care andaccuracy from the natural shells in our own cabinet, underthe superintendence of Mr. James Ackerman, artist.
|1.||Dorsaliæ. Two genera.|
|2.||Maldaniæ. Two genera.|
|3.||Amphitritæa. Four genera.|
|4.||Serpulacea. Five genera.|
|1.||Cirrhipedes. Ten genera.|
|1.||Tubicola. Six genera.|