A Conchological Manual

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Conchological Manual Frontispiece.png
1. Spondylus Americanus. (Young.)
2. Nautilus pompilius. (Young.)
G. B. S. Junr. fecit.












It may be necessary in introducing this little volume, to state, that it is strictly conchological, and that it is compiled for the use not only of those who wish to acquire an elementary acquaintance with the subject, but also of authors and others, who, desirous of extending their knowledge and pursuing their researches, require a book of reference, containing a general outline of what has been done by those who have trodden the same path before them. It has been thought advisable, for general convenience, to arrange the principal part of the information in alphabetical order: adding tables of the systems of Lamarck and De Blainville, to facilitate the systematic pursuit of the science.

Persons of the class first alluded to, will find great assistance in the explanation of technical words, their application being further illustrated, in most cases, by a reference to the figures; and, although they might have been multiplied, it is trusted that enough are given for every useful purpose.

The definition of the Classes, Orders, Families, and Genera, in the system of De Blainville, and a tabular view, are presented for the use of those who prefer it, or who wish to compare it with that of Lamarck.

In the explanation of the figures, will be found a systematic arrangement of shells, according to Lamarck, including the names of genera established or proposed since the publication of his system. The descriptions of established genera have been rendered as concise and clear as possible. It is hoped that no essential characters are omitted, and that those living authors, whose proposed generic distinctions have been passed over in a few words, will not have to complain of want of justice in the attempt to interpret their meaning.

In most cases the generic name will be found accompanied by its derivation. This has been done, in the hope of assisting the memory by associating the meaning of a term with some peculiarity in the thing described. At the end of each description of a genus, some general observations occur, pointing out the principal character which distinguishes it from others, to which it is nearly allied; and also stating the geographical or geological distribution and habits of the animal.

The above descriptions and definitions are illustrated by a series of plates, containing above 500 etchings of nearly as many proposed or established genera, arranged in Lamarckian order, so as to show at a glance all the generic forms of each family. And, although from their number, they could not be very highly finished, it is hoped that they will be found characteristic.

The compiler cannot replace his pen without acknowledging, with filial gratitude, the kind assistance of one who has sacrificed much of his time in bringing his knowledge and experience to bear upon the correctness and utility of this humble attempt to remove some of the difficulties to which the commencement of this, as well as of every other study, is exposed.


The favourable reception and rapid sale of the first edition of the Conchological Manual having rendered a second necessary, the Author takes this opportunity of explaining the nature of the alterations which have been made. In doing this, he has to thank his friends for their suggestions, which, together with his own increased knowledge and experience, enable him to present a more complete and satisfactory work to the scientific public.

For the further convenience of those who are studying the rudiments of the science, an entirely new Introduction is given, in which, commencing with the structure and gradual developement of the shell, the author has endeavoured to explain the general principles of Conchology in systematical order. This Introduction is illustrated by 100 wood-cuts, which will be found greatly to assist the Student.

The definitions have been rendered more full and complete than before, and the Author has profited by some manuscript notes communicated by a scientific friend, to whom he desires to present his humble acknowledgments. Upwards of four hundred explanations have been given of words which did not appear in the former edition, three-fourths of which are of generic and subgeneric names.

A large number of notes, referring to the geographical distribution of the genera, have been added from the pen of Mr. G. B. Sowerby, Senior.

The plates have been carefully improved; and three, containing upwards of eighty figures, have been added.

On the whole, it will be found that the amount of matter has been nearly doubled; all the defects, as far as they have been discovered, have been removed, and every means used of making the present edition as useful as possible.


Adans. Adanson. Author of "Voyages du Senegal."
Bl. Blainville. Author of "Manuel de Malacologie et de Conchyliologie," &c.
Brod. W. J. Broderip, Esq. Author of various descriptions of Shells in the Zoological Journal, &c.
Brongn. Brongniart. Author of "Memoire sur les terrains du Vicentin, d'Italie, de France, et d'Allemagne," &c.
Brug. Brugière. Author of "Dictionaire des Vers testacés, dans l'Encyclopédie," &c.
Cuv. The late Baron Cuvier. Author of "Regne Animal," &c.
Defr. Defrance. Contributor to the "Annales des Sciences Naturelles," &c.
Desh. Deshayes. Author of "Coquilles fossiles des environs de Paris," &c.
D'Orb. D'Alcide D'Orbigny.
Drap. Draparnaud. Author of "Histoire Naturelle des Mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles de la France," &c.
Fer. De Ferussac. Author of "Histoire Naturelle des Mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles," &c.
Flem. Fleming.
Gmel. Gmelin. Author of an edition of Linnæus's "Systema Naturæ," &c.
Guild. Rev. Lansdown Guilding.
Hübn. Hübner.
Humph. The late George Humphrey.
Lam. Lamarck. Author of "Animaux sans Vertebres," &c.
Lin. Linnæus. Author of "Systema Naturæ," &c.
Mont. Montague. Author of "Testacea Britannica," &c.
Montf. Montfort. Author of "Histoire Naturelle des Mollusques," &c.
Müll. Müller. Author of "Vermium terrestrium et fluviatilum," "Zoologiæ Danicæ," &c.
Ranz. Ranzani. Author of "Considerations sur les Balanes," &c.
Schum. Schumacher.
Sow. Sowerby. The late James. Author of "Mineral Conchology," &c. George Brettingham, Senr., "Genera of Shells," "Species Conchyliorum," &c. G. B. Jun. "Conchological Manual," "Conchological Illustrations," "Thesaurus Conchyliorum," Descriptions of New Shells in the Zoological Proceedings, &c.
Sw. Swainson. Author of "Zoological Illustrations," "Exotic Conchology," "Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopedia," &c.
Turt. Turton. Author of "British Shells."

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.