On the beach I meet Barb and Steve Patrick from Calgary, Alberta. They're picking up a certain uncommon but not rare seashell that almost looks like large, silvery, flat fish-scales. The largest ones are about an inch and a half across.
"Barb arranges them in a small, shallow dish and barely covers them with water," Steve explains. "It's pretty to look at. When the light is right, you see rainbow effects, like mother-of-pearl."
Back in Hotel Reef's computer room it's not long before I have a name for the shells. They're called Jingle Shells, or just plain Jingles, and the animal they're from is ANOMIA SIMPLEX. Anomia is a bivalve so, instead of consisting of a foot beneath a single shell like a mollusk, its top and bottom shells clamp together. You can see a pretty assortment of Jingles at http://www.seashells.org/seashells/jingles.htm.
Jingles are distributed from Nova Scotia through the Caribbean and out to Bermuda. In water depths up to about 35 feet they attach themselves to any hard object in the water, even other shells, by means of threads extending through a hole in the lower shell. The upper shell (more correctly referred to as a valve) is more concave than the lower one