The UniverShell Unionidae Photo Gallery
This is the start of our Freshwater Gallery Pages. Thanks to the expertise and inspiration of Doug Shelton we have started to catalog and categorize our thousands of freshwater shells. The collection covers the US and parts of Europe, and contains specimens collected from 1898 through present day non-endangered specimens collected by UniverShell.
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The freshwater mussels of the world are fading quickly. A survey of the available resources tells us that these sensitive markers of water quality are predicting something much more dire for our waterways. We must begin paying attention! And if poor water quality, damming rivers and loss of habitat weren't enough now we have a plethora of invading species robbing the very food from the siphons of our remaining species! This loss of innocuous and unique animals is beyond belief. These are some of the most surprising animals in the molluscan world. These are not boring bivalves!

If you look at the adaptations that these mussels have developed to enable them to reproduce and lure a suitable host you will scratch your head in amazement. From fishlike growths which act as lures to detachable sticky pisciform ovisacs which attract and tempt host fish into consumption these are amazing examples of molluscan evolution at its apex.

In 1998, we purchased the lifelong shell collection from John & Mary D'Aiuto. These two individuals have amassed shells for decades. They ran a successful shell dealership called D'Aiuto's Thorny Oyster. John and Mary were fixtures in the shelling community. Mary worked with Dr., Myra Keen at Stanford University and they were friends and correspondents with notable conchologist like Walter Freeman Webb. The D'Aiuto collection is a synthetic mixture of Fossil, Freshwater, Marine and Terrestrial specimens. We estimate that the total collection includes several hundred thousand shells. There are specimens from the Stanford University collection and the collections of noted malacologists like Webb, Henry Hemphill, Myra Oldroyd, S.A. Mitchell and James A Zetek. Our promise to John and Mary was that we would find suitable homes for the significant portions of this collection. Up until August of 2000 we had not even looked at the freshwater specimens as we had no books or knowledge of them. We were fortunate enough to enlist Doug Shelton as a Guest Curator of our freshwater specimens. In a very long evening of work he identified and reviewed several thousand specimens. More importantly he opened our eyes to the beauty of these gems.

We are now committed [or perhaps should be committed!] to cataloging this collection, and placing it in a suitable research institution where it will be of enduring value. I do not believe that such resources belong in the hands of private collectors. In the meantime, we will use these specimens in displays, competitions and on the web as a way of drawing attention to the plight of the animals in the wild. We are very comfortable with this role and look forward to many years of lively conversation regarding these specimens.

My background as a database developer has led me to create a special cataloging system for the Unionidae. This Linnean database allows me to quickly capture the known data from the collection and to include photography as needed, all in a searchable database. At some point this database will be offered to others for their collections and I hope to have our final collection system searchable over the Internet. In order to fund development and preservation efforts we will engage in some sales and exchanges from this collection. We will not ell any specimens of endangered or extinct species and will never deprive the collection of its sole representative of a species. Our first foray into that area was a donation to Doug Shelton of some specimens for his research.

We hope you will be stimulated by this effort and will check back frequently to assess our progress. Please look at our Resources page to view the extraordinary work done by others in this field. We are excited to be a part of this effort and welcome any comments - criticism or suggestion about how to make these pages more useful.

A quick note on our photography. Our photographs may load slowly - as they are fairly large for web purposes - however, experimentation has shown us that lesser quality [lower resolution or higher compression] techniques make some of the photographs less useful. When the newer fractal compression image formats are better supported we will change over all the photography. We respectfully request that you honor our intellectual property rights and not download or reuse our photos without permission. If you wish to use our images please contact us so suitable arrangements can be made.

We may be contacted at the following address:

Bob Nuelle, Jr.
Chief Curator and Webmaster for The UniverShell Trading Company
4185 West Lake Mary Boulevard
Lake Mary, Florida 32746

If you are in the area - we're near Orlando! Remember the best shelling in Florida is in our garage and warehouse!
Thanks - Bob - 8/22/2000

Comments - Criticism - Corrections - Kudos? - click here

We will be creating Data cards by Genera - all the information organized by Genera for selected significant specimens in our collection. These will replace the Gallery [unorganized pages!!!] This effort will unfold over the next two months. [October - November]. We hope you enjoy it!

The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Home Page
The UniverShell Gallery - Table of Contents - Find a species Alphabetically
The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Page 1
The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Page 2
The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Page 3
The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Page 4
The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Page 5
The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Page 6
Foreign Mussel Shells - Page 7
The Unknown Mussels - Take a crack at Identification - PLEASE!
Henry McCullagh Gallery Southern Unionids - Page 8
The UniverShell Unionidae Gallery Page 9
The UniverShell Unio Resources Web List
The Main Digital Photo Gallery Pages
Take a sneak peak at the Upcoming UniverShell Freshwater Collection Database
This page created on a Macintosh using PhotoPage by John A. Vink.
Updated 9/25/2000