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Brachiopods are often called ‘lamp shells’ because the shell shape of the majority of brachiopods resembles an antique oil lamp. About 350 species are currently recognized, all inhabiting the temperate and colder waters of our oceans. They prefer sheltered areas such as rocky crevices, outcrops or caves and the deep sea slopes and benthos. They were once abundant in the tropical seas but were evolutionary driven out of that niche by bivalves, with which they share a common ancestry. Currently about 13,000 fossil species are recognized. The shells are often white and fragile, but Terebratulina transversa is one of the few species which displays a rich reddish color with intricate wavy pattern on the growth lines. They were dived during the around 1985 off La Jolla Cave, California, USA, also home of a famous shells hop and museum back then. Here they are mounted together with Chlamys glaber fished off Thessaloniki, Greece, rarely found in this color, quality and size.
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Isle of Skye
The Scottish Island of Skye lies on 57° degrees North, along with Moscow and Hudson Bay, places ice-bound for much of the year. The influence of the Gulf Stream tempers that climate, bringing changing weather, light and drama; drama on the sea shore to put as a famous title of one of Honoré de Balzac’s novels. The dome is nothing more, nor nothing less of a tribute to the proud fishermen of the area, building their life on working in often harsh and dangerous conditions. While fishing for commercial species, they encounter beautiful shells, crustaceans and other animals often unimaginable to the islanders and visitors. Besides a tribute to the men themselves it is also a tribute to our fauna and the people that collect and study them.
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The Amazon basin is well known for its peculiar fish, especially the large number of armored, sometimes poisonous cat fish. The tropical shallow waters also have their armored family; the Peristetiidae, or gurnards. Although more of the species are similar to our Channel gurnard, some display a thick and razor sharp armor. Their flat abdomen and cephalofoils at either side of the head make them a perfect hunter of the sandy and muddy bottoms. And their armor keeps predators at bay. These armored gurnards are said to be the inspiration for the shape of ‘The Nautilus’, the submarine in which Captain Nemo cruises the oceans in Jules Verne’s ‘20000 leagues under the Sea’. As a consequence, these fish are often referred to as ‘Nautilus Fish’. They are here presented as a hunting pack on a background of black sea whip and Murex pecten, a neogastropod which shell mimics the skeleton of a fish, trying to avoid being snapped up by fish.