Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/190

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178
PECTINIBRANCHIATA.—MURICIDÆ

following account of the number of shells used in France in the preceding year:—

80,000 Bull's-mouth, valued at £6,400
8,000 Black Helmet " 1,800
500 Horned Helmet " 60
12,000 Queen Conch " 700
100,500 shells. Total Value £8,960

The average value of the large cameos made in Paris is about six francs each, giving a sterling value of £32,000, and the value of the small cameos is about £8,000, giving a total value of the cameos produced in Paris for one year of £40,000, while in England, not more than six persons are employed in this trade.[1]

Those glories of a conchological cabinet, the Harp-shells (Harpa), are also members of the present family. The number of species is but small, and they are all found in the Indian Seas, especially around the Mauritius and neighbouring islands, whence the finest specimens of the common species, as well as of the more valuable Many-ribbed Harp, are procured for the European collectors. The animal is brightly coloured, and beautiful. The fishing for these shells is carried on at low water, with a small rake, to which a net is attached, on sand-banks, at night and at sunrise, when the Harps principally roam about to feed. They have been known to take the bait on the fishing-lines laid for Olive-shells.

"The shells when in fine condition are great favourites with collectors, and indeed a drawer of fine Harps, in all the freshness of their beauty, is

  1. Athenæum, May 1, 1847.