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Ensis siliqua

(Linnaeus, 1758)

Yvonne Beale You may enjoy having a look at photo's I took (with permission) at the local Stromness Museum. I would appreciate any comments and extra names and things that folk could add for the later photo's and just to see what you thought of the shell display. I had gone to see the Robert Rendall collection, an Orcadian natural historian of days gone by, but hadn't realized that was only by appointment so I've that to do yet and they've been given an entire suitcase collection to keep recently as well so perhaps more to come yet.

Dave Rolfe I wish they would give Latin names as well. Also Macoma 'Boltica' is the Baltic Tellin, Macoma balthica. The display is O.K. but a bit crowded in places.

Yvonne Beale The display was recently redone and I think a few little errors must have slipped in. I didn't like to go with my list of corrections when I'm quite new to the shell hobby but I will keep a little note and pass it in quietly once I get a bit better known there I think. I felt the same about the lack of the latin names, they are so important.

George Brown I agree with you both regarding the value of Latin names even if they do change at frustratingly frequent intervals. Bring their attention to this site: http://naturalhistory.museumwales.ac.uk/britishbivalves/home.php?

Ian Smith Yvonne welcome to the group, you live in one of the best places in Britain for molluscs; I hope you'll look at the live ones too. I agree that Greek/Latin scientific names ought to be used, especially by a museum. As George says, they are changing a lot with research. You can check the currency of a name by typing it into http://www.marinespecies.org/ If it's not "accepted" it will tell you so in red and give you the up-to-date name. I know how proud Orcadians are of their Scandinavian heritage, so it seems a great shame that an Orcadian museum uses English names that are of minimal use. I know Robert Rendall did too in his "Mollusca Orcadensia" list, but he did take interest in the traditional names of Scandinavian and Scottish origin. It would be so much more appropriate for Stromness museum to use the Scientific and Orcadian names and to ditch the English. Some of the names like Grottie buckie, Cattie buckie and Ku-shell (kúskjel in Norwegian, pronounced the same) I expect you know. You can find more in Robert Rendall's delightful "Orkney Shore", though he isn't clear for non-Orcadians about which is which. I traced some in the "Orkney Norn". Robert also mentioned the farm games played with shells. I guess with modern toys they are almost forgotten. It would be a great museum display to show a child's farmyard made of beach pebbles with the appropriate animals labelled 0;Arctica islandica / Ku-shell - ku/cow, Mytilus /kraenoe- kraa/crow, Mya/ smurslin - /grice/pig, Pecten/Chlamys/Gimmer shell - gimmer/sheep, Buccinum - cattie buckie/cat, Littorina/neb - dog,) and of course Trivia/ Grottie buckie- groat/ grain of corn. The shell animal associations were similar to those used in Norway until recently. There is an article in the Norwegian magazine Hjemmet 31 Dec 1925 that gives the Norwegian names - perhaps one of our Norwegian members could trace a copy in a museum archive?? When you get to see Robert's collection note that there are no Ensis ensis specimens. Alan Skene (marine recorder for Orkney in the 1970s when I lived in the Hope) told me that Robert realised his mistake after the publication of Mollusca Orcadensia and transferred all the records to Ensis arcuatus, the most frequently found and eaten spoot, though another spoot, Ensis siliqua, lives in Orkney too. Unfortunately Robert's mistake was repeated by R.J. Berry (with several others of his own) in his New Naturalist volume " The Natural History of Orkney" that sells second hand for the ridiculous price of £1500 hardback (I've not missed the decimal point!) There are some E. ensis records on NBN for Orkney, but I'd like to see a specimen or photo to support them. Best wishes and check my Orcadian in case I've made a slip.

Yvonne Beale Thank you very much for the welcome, links and all the interesting comments. I haven't read the book by Robert Rendall yet and I know that Natural History book is like gold-dust, crazy. I loved being on the beach when I was younger and had a bit of a red face regarding local names vs other when I moved away to study. A Glaswegian friend laughed his head off when I told him we all used to pick whelks for pin money (turns out that means picking your nose elsewhere!) but whelks here was winkles elsewhere. An early lesson in the value of latin names ;-) I haven't done any scuba or snorkelling but I am hoping to get a shot of that yet. There are some really good facebook groups on here for those hobbies and the photo's people share are amazing. I haven't learnt the secret to finding spoots apart from much backward walking but I'll find a teacher yet. I'm hoping to get out to Stronsay for a bit of shell hunting next year as I'm after a canoe shell and we've just had a bit of stormy weather that I'm hoping will have shaken things up a bit. Ian Smith, are there any beaches that you'd particularly recommend for a bit of shell hunting here in Orkney? I'm working my way around and getting my eye in for the sorts of places that have the shells.

Message posted on British Marine Mollusca on 17 Sep 2013
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Mollusca (Phylum)
    Bivalvia (Class)
      Heterodonta (Subclass)
        Euheterodonta (Infraclass)
           Euheterodonta (Order)
            Solenoidea (Superfamily)
              Pharidae (Family)
                Ensis (Genus)
                  Ensis siliqua (Species)
Associated Species