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Massachusetts State Shell

New England NeptuneMassachusetts State Shell: New England Neptune

(Neptuna lyrata decemcostata)

Adopted on June 26, 1987.

The NEW ENGLAND NEPTUNE (Neptuna lyrata decemcostata) was made the Shell of the Commonwealth on June 26, 1987.

New England Neptune Postage Stamp

In June, 1987, the Boston Malacological Club was  successful in an effort to have the New England Neptune named the state shell. A few years ago, this club was involved in a ceremony at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology for the issuance of five shell stamps depicting five shells found off the northeastern American shores. One of them was the New England Neptune.

Massachusetts State Shell: New England Neptune

Massachusetts State Shell: New England Neptune

Neptunea lyrata, also known by the common names New England Neptune, wrinkled whelk, ribbed Neptune, inflated whelk, lyre whelk or lyre Neptune, is a species of large sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Buccinidae. This species consists of several subspecies.

Massachusetts Law

The law designating the New England neptune as the official Massachusetts state shell is found in the General Laws of Massachusetts, Part 1, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 12

CHAPTER 2. ARMS, GREAT SEAL AND OTHER EMBLEMS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
Section 29 Shell of commonwealth

Section 29. The New England neptune (neptunea lyrata decemcostata) shall be the shell of the commonwealth.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: New England Neptune

Kingdom: Animalia  - Animal, animaux, animals
    Subkingdom: Bilateria  Infrakingdom: Protostomia 
Superphylum: Lophozoa 
    Phylum: Mollusca  - mollusques, molusco, molluscs, mollusks
Class: Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797 - gastropods, slugs, snails, escargots, gasteropodes, limaces, caracol, caramujo, lesma
    Subclass: Prosobranchia Milne-Edwards, 1848
Order: Neogastropoda 
Family: Buccinidae Rafinesque, 1815  
Genus: Neptunea Röding, 1798
Species: Neptunea lyrata (Gmelin, 1791) - lyre whelk 
    Subspecies: Neptunea lyrata decemcostata (Say, 1826) - wrinkle whelk

State Shells
State Shells
A seashell or sea shell, also known simply as a shell, is a hard, protective outer layer created by an animal that lives in the sea. The shell is part of the body of the animal. Empty seashells are often found washed up on beaches by beachcombers. The shells are empty because the animal has died and the soft parts have been eaten by another animal or have rotted out.
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