Malacology

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Malacology is the study of Mollusca, such as this bigfin reef squid.

Malacology[1] is the branch of invertebrate zoology that deals with the study of the Mollusca (mollusks or molluscs), the second-largest phylum of animals in terms of described species[2] after the arthropods. Mollusks include snails and slugs, clams, and cephalopods, along with numerous other kinds, many of which have shells. One division of malacology, conchology, is devoted to the study of mollusk shells. Malacology derives from Ancient Greek μαλακός (malakós), meaning "soft", and -λογία (-logía).

Fields within malacological research include taxonomy, ecology and evolution. Applied malacology studies medical, veterinary, and agricultural applications; for example, mollusks as vectors of disease, as in schistosomiasis.

Archaeology employs malacology to understand the evolution of the climate, the biota of the area, and the usage of the site.

In 1681, Filippo Bonanni wrote the first book ever published that was solely about seashells, the shells of marine mollusks.[3] The book was entitled: Ricreatione dell' occhio e dela mente nell oservation' delle Chiociolle, proposta a' curiosi delle opere della natura, &c.[4] In 1868, the German Malacological Society was founded.

Zoological methods are used in malacological research. Malacological field methods and laboratory methods (such as collecting, documenting and archiving, and molecular techniques) were summarized by Sturm et al. (2006).[5]

Malacologists

Those who study malacology are known as malacologists. Those who study primarily or exclusively the shells of mollusks are known as conchologists.

Societies

Journals

More than 150 journals within the field of malacology are being published from more than 30 countries, producing an overwhelming amount of scientific articles.[8] They include:

Museums

Malacological Museum in Makarska, Croatia (entrance)

Museums that have either exceptional malacological research collections (behind the scenes) and/or exceptional public exhibits of mollusks:

See also

References

  1. From French malacologie, contraction of malacozoologie; from New Latin Malacozoa "zoological group including soft-bodied animals"; from Ancient Greek μαλακός (malakós), meaning "soft", and ζῷον (zôion), meaning "animal".
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  4. (Italian) Bonanni F. 1681. Ricreatione dell' occhio e dela mente nell oservation' delle Chiociolle, proposta a' curiosi delle opere della natura, &c. 1681. Varese, Rome, xiv, 384 pp., 109 plates. figure 101.
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Further reading

  • Cox L. R. & Peake J. F. (eds.). Proceedings of the First European Malacological Congress. September 17–21, 1962. Text in English with black-and-white photographic reproductions, also maps and diagrams. Published by the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Malacological Society of London in 1965 with no ISBN.
  • Heppel D. (1995). "The long dawn of Malacology: a brief history of malacology from prehistory to the year 1800." Archives of Natural History 22(3): 301–319.

External links

Media related to Malacology at Wikimedia Commons