More Mollusks

Yolanda Villacampa is a museum specialist in the invertebrate zoology department of Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. She is standing surrounded by the invertebrate zoology collection.
What can students do to help the ocean? It turns out, a lot! These students from Texas are among dozens from the U.S. and Mexico who are developing action plans on ocean and climate-related issues in...
This beautiful spider conch ( Lambis chiragra ) was collected by Census of Marine Life scientists conducting research near China.
A chambered nautilus shell.
During the summer of 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science made a series of disturbing discoveries in the Chesapeake Bay. In June, they collected an unusual specimen: a single...
Like it or not, giant squids are related to snails, clams, and even slugs. They are all mollusks and have soft, fleshy bodies. More can be found in the Giant Squid section .
Invasive species can have a range of environmental and economic impacts. In this photo sea squirts foul an oyster cage. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's Marine Invasions...
Rudist clams are mollusks that went extinct about 65 million years ago. They were the reef builders of the Cretaceous Period, the heyday of the dinosaurs. Today corals have taken over the role...
A longshoreman stands in front of a large pile of oyster shells on waterfront pier in Atlantic City in 1910. Back then, oysters were incredibly abundant. In the late 1800s, fishermen pulled in 10...
These Pacific cephalopods illustrate the wide diversity among this group of mollusks. You can learn about a relative, the giant squid ( Architeuthis dux ), in our Giant Squid section.
The Smithsonian's Department of Invertebrate Zoology has a collection of over 57,000 specimens from over 5,700 sites in the Gulf of Mexico, which are now catalogued on Google Earth . Below is a tiny...
About 100 million years ago , during the heyday of the dinosaurs, reefs were built by mollusks called rudist clams. Like modern clams, rudists were bivalves , with two shells (or valves) joined at a...
Where ocean currents were strong, ancient rudist “recliners” lay unattached on the seabed. Notice the pink tentacles, which were used to filter feed. Learn more about ocean life throughout deep time...
The Great Barrier Reef site in Australia was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981. The site is the world’s most extensive stretch of coral reef with probably the richest animal diversity...
White abalones are slow-moving, algae-eating mollusks. Rapid overharvesting since the 1970s has resulted in white abalones becoming the first marine invertebrate listed as endangered on the...
Sea butterflies (also called pteropods) are sea snails aptly named: they are shelled marine snails, each with a foot like a wing, that swim in the water column like butterflies. This one, Atlanta...
This pair of sea butterflies ( Limacina helicina ) flutter not far from the ocean's surface in the Arctic. Sea butterflies are a type of sea snail, but instead of dragging themselves around the...
Over a 10-year period, NOAA scientists have collected 72,000 seawater samples, and their data show that the ocean is becoming more acidic because of climate change . That small change in acidity is...
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