Over on my other site – Jessica’s Nature Blog I have been writing about the natural history of the seashore for 18 months now. Many of the postings are about seashells and marine molluscs. These include 39 articles about the shells of the European Flat Oyster, Ostrea edulis Linnaeus, which is our British Native Oyster in the UK. Over 300 detailed photographs illustrate the texts on oyster shell variations.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to start off this new Oysters etc. blog with a list the posts I have already published elsewhere on the subject of oyster shell variations. You can click on the post titles listed below to link directly with these oyster articles that relate to both archaeological and modern specimens.

Entire archive of OYSTER VARIATIONS category on Jessica’s Nature Blog

General characteristics of Flat Oyster shells

Epibiont infestation evidence in oyster shells

Epibiont encrustation evidence in oyster shells

Colour variation in oyster shells

Shape variation in oyster shells

Growth lines in oyster shells

Damage on ancient shells caused by people

Examples of variation in modern Flat Oyster shells

Fossil oyster shells

Summary of my own oyster shell research to date

All images & text on Oysters etc. is

Copyright Jessica Winder 2010 with all rights reserved.

About winderjssc

I have a background in ecological studies in both the museum and the research laboratory. I'm passionate about the natural world right on my doorstep and enthusiastic about capturing what I see through photography, wanting to open the eyes of everyone to the beauty and fascination of nature. I am author of Jessica's Nature Blog []. I have also extensively researched macroscopic variations in oyster and other edible marine mollusc shells from archaeological excavations as a means of understanding past exploitation of marine shellfish resources. I am an archaeo-malacological consultant through Oysters etc. where I am publishing summaries of my shell research and other oyster related topics [Oysters etc. at]. Photographic Salmagundi [] is a showcase of photographs and digital art on all sorts of subjects - not just natural history. P.S. The current profile picture was taken in 2015 at Whiteford Sands in Gower where I am kneeling to take pictures of an ancient buried tree trunk emerging from the peat for the first time after submersion by rising sea levels about 6000 years ago.
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4 Responses to Posts about OYSTER SHELL VARIATIONS

  1. So where are the burrows of Dodecaceria (Cirratulid, polychaete) in oyster shells ? They must be there. Similar to Polydora but without the longitudinal central division. Slightly larger. A secondary borer. Takes over the borrows of Polydora and the galleries of boring sponges. Living specimens sublittoral and at low spring tides. Dumbbell shaped burrows with one or two kinks at the neck. Also found in other shells. Common is shale where they are found in the bedding planes. Should be found in fossil oysters. Found around Britain. Said to be the most common species on the shore. Found together with Polydora. One species is concharum which of course indicates it is found in shells. First seen in the Kattergat in 1842 (?) by Oersted. Can send photos to help with identification. I am interested in the fossils but have never found them.

    • winderjssc says:

      It is most interesting to hear from you. I have clearly been underestimating the identification possibilities when thinking about these small holes and burrows in shells (both modern and fossil) and rocks. I am very keen to know more, and would appreciate it if you could send photographs to help me with the identification of Dodecaceria species. I can start looking at specimens afresh, including the fossil oysters I have collected.

  2. The photograph above in this window looks as though it has burrows of D. concharum and D. fimbriatus. The diameters of the burrow are a good indication but best of all are longitudinal sections (not seen here). The chaetae of the species may be present in the debris in the burrow. They would have to be brushed out and mounted on a microscope slide. Happy to do that.

    • winderjssc says:

      I am not absolutely clear which image you are referring to but, if it is the oyster shell left valve on an orange background at the top of the post entitled Posts about oyster shell variations, then I had previously believed that the numerous regular almost perfectly circular holes were caused by sponge rather than worms. Have I got that wrong? Perhaps you are referring to the few smaller burrows which are definitely worm burrows?

      I will investigate the contents of burrows in some oyster shell samples to see if chaetae remain. Many of the shells that I have photographed from the beach have been rolling around in the sea for a considerable time and I am not certain that the holes and burrows would retain anything but accumulated sand and mud. However, I do have some shells from live dredged samples, from the Solent for example, which have never been washed, and these might provide chaetae. Your assistance with the process would be needed with this.

      I have specimens of modern oyster shells, i.e. 20th and 21st century, archaeological specimens, and fossil ones. If any of this material is potentially useful for your research, I would be pleased to pass it on to you. Meanwhile, thank you for any help you can give me with the recognition and correct identification of burrows in shells and stones.

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