Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/157

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145
BULLAS

when Apuleius was accused of magic, because forsooth he had induced a rich widow to marry him, the principal proof against him was that he had hired the fishermen to procure him this fearful animal. He averred, however, that his only object in procuring the Sea-hare was the gratification of a laudable curiosity.

Our native species (A. hybrida) is about three inches in length, of an olive or dark green hue, often marked with dark rings enclosing white areas; the mantle is sometimes clouded with purple or blue.

Family Bulladæ.

The shell, which in the preceding families is thin, small, and rudimentary, is in this family much more developed. The spiral character is distinct, and the general form and texture show a considerable approach to that condition in which it is more familiar to us, viz. that of an ample, turbinated covering, for the inhabitation of the animal, of stony hardness. Yet in none of the genera of this family does the shell perform the function of a dwelling-house for the animal: it is still more or less concealed by the flesh; not, indeed, imbedded in the substance of the mantle, but invested more or less completely by fleshy lobes or wing-like expansions, that turn up on each side and embrace it. In the genus Scaphander, however, which includes the largest British species of the family, the shell is entirely exposed, the wing-like lobes being smaller than usual.

In its texture the shell is generally thin, pellucid, and colourless, or nearly so, though in some of the species in which the family characters are be-