Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/305

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293
GAPERS.

One of the rarest of British bivalves (Panopæa Norvagica), allied to Mya, is an inhabitant of deep water, and is interesting for its unusual square form, and for its large size.

The following graphic account of Mr. Bean's discovery of this extremely scarce species is extracted from the "Magazine of Natural History," wherein the shell was first actually published as a native of our seas: "We have obtained at Scarborough three specimens of this, in every sense of the word, gigantic prize. To some of the fishermen of our coast it appeared to be well known by the name of the bacca-box, from a fancied resemblance to one of their most useful household goods. They were all caught by the hook, and rescued from destruction in a singular manner. The first was destined for a tobacco-box; the second had the honour of holding the grease belonging to the boat-establishment; and the third, after amusing them (the members of a philosophical society) by squirting water to the ceiling, was at last seen by a learned friend, purchased for a trifle, and generously placed in our cabinet. The animal we have not seen, but its colour is black." Three additional individuals have since then been obtained by Mr. Bean from the same locality, and two single valves have been dredged by Mr. M'Andrew in ninety fathoms water, twenty-five miles east of Zetland. It is likewise captured, though very rarely, in deep water off the Northumberland and Durham coasts (King and Alder).[1]

  1. Cited in Br. Moll. i. 177.