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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Living Mollusks is an educational book written by Charles E. Rawlings, MD, JD. Seashells are created from extracted calcium carbonate by the mollusks which live, or had at one point lived, inside the shell. Photographing a living shell (shell and mollusk in its natural habitat in the ocean) is one of the most difficult things to do, as luck needs to be on your side. Most mollusks only come out at night and everything must be precise, such as the location, night diving equipment, the right cameras, locating a living mollusk during a dive and seeing it move in its natural habitat, enabling one or more photos to be taken. The variety of living mollusks discussed and photographed in Living Mollusks includes Slit Shells, Volutes, Cowries, Cones, Murex, Harps, Moonstails, Tuns, Bivalves, Cephalopods, Nudibranchs and more. While the shells that they wear are quite beautiful, the mollusk underneath which created such beauty is not one to be toyed with, as they have many defensive mechanisms which could prove painful, toxic, and even lethal when touched. Nature’s magnificence is proven in the stunning full-color photographs provided throughout this book and I am truly left in awe of these resilient and resplendent creatures.
Charles E. Rawlings, MD, JD has proven himself a master in the field of seashells and mollusks. His knowledge and ability to identify various seashells and mollusks seems without bounds. Not only does Living Mollusks provide breath-taking photographs of never-before-seen living mollusks and living seashells within the pages, but the information of their history, habitat, and creation truly is an eye-opener for somebody like me. Whereas before, my only exposure was to an empty shell collected upon a beach, I have learned how the shells are created, the various sizes that each of the mollusks can reach, and how climate change now endangers the future of many species of these beautiful and majestic creatures. I truly enjoyed reading Living Mollusks and recommend this book to all readers who have ever found a seashell on the beach and felt curious about where it came from.