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Help ID these shells - urchin - 01-21-2009

Can anyone help me identify these shells?? They are called Goat eyes but that is a local name not a real name. I am also interested in their value and history. What culture are they from and where in the world are they found? These are very old and were handed down to me from relatives. Age unknown. Photos can be found at this link:
<a href="http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/Kamakeahale1/Shells/" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/Kamakeahale1/Shells/">http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a92/Ka ... e1/Shells/</a><!-- m --></a>

Urchin<span style="font-family: Georgia;"></span>


Help ID these shells - paul monfils - 01-21-2009

These are not actually shells, but they are shell-related. They are opercula (singular operculum) from Turban Shells (Turbo), specifically from a glossy, colorful species called the Tapestry Turban (Turbo petholatus), from the Indo-Pacific region.  The operculum is a sort of "door" attached to the snail's body in such a way that as the snail withdraws into its shell for protection, the operculum is the last thing in, and seals the opening of the shell, keeping out predators, just like a door.  These are widely used in the shellcraft and jewelry industries, where they are known as "cat eyes".  Other species of Turban Shells have opercula that vary in color and texture, some of them deeply sculptured with grooves and ridges.

Here you can see the operculum in place in the aperture of the Tapestry Turban Shell:

<a href="http://www.gastropods.com/1/Shell_251.shtml" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.gastropods.com/1/Shell_251.shtml">http://www.gastropods.com/1/Shell_251.shtml</a><!-- m --></a>  <span class="petit">--Last edited by Paul Monfils on 2009-02-21 20:18:38 --</span>


Help ID these shells - paul monfils - 02-20-2009

A really neat website dedicated to the operculum:

<a href="http://www.nansaidh.us/operc/" target="_blank"><!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.nansaidh.us/operc/">http://www.nansaidh.us/operc/</a><!-- m --></a>


Help ID these shells - useastcoastcollector - 02-20-2009

Not sure what part of the world you live in, Urchin, but here in the states we call them Shiva's eye shells (common name). This is one of my most favorite things to collect!! I remember seeing my first one. I picked it up because I thought it was an unusually shaped rock until I turned it over and saw the flat, swirreled side. The one's I've found here in North Carolina look different from the ones you pictured. What a nice collection of them you have!


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