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Ch. 4: Pearl-bearers, Marine and Fresh-water

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72
Pearls.
fish or molluscs. The Pearl-bearers of the sea are commonly known as " Pearl oysters," though they present but little resemblance to our " native oyster." Indeed although popularly so called they are not oysters in the scientific acceptation of the word, but belong rather to the group of sea-mussels. The term, however, is so commonly employed and universally recognised, that it would be pedantry to abandon it or to attempt to introduce any other word as a substitute.
For our purpose the Pearl-bearing molluscs may be conveniently divided into two great groups, viz.—
I. The Marine.
II. The Fresh-water.
All Pearls, whether marine or fluviatile, are produced by organisms belonging to that great group of bivalve shell-fish which was termed by the famous French naturalist, Lamarck, the Conchifera. This name however is by no means well-chosen, inasmuch as it literally means "Shell-bearers" and might therefore with equal propriety be bestowed upon other molluscs that secrete shells, such as certain cephalopods and gasteropods. It has hence become usual to replace the old term Con­chifera by the better chosen name Lamellibranchiata,
Ch. 4: Pearl-bearers, Marine and Fresh-water Page of 341 Ch. 4: Pearl-bearers, Marine and Fresh-water
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