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Jennifer Kennedy

What Is a Mollusk?

By November 6, 2010

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Queen Conch / NOAACan you think of a mollusk?

The term mollusk encompasses many kinds of marine animals - well over 100,000 species which have been categorized into the Phylum Mollusca.

The mollusks include many types of marine life that we eat, such as the bivalves - mussels, clams, oysters... and collect,  such as the conchs and whelks whose shells are prized as souvenirs. This phylum also includes the octopus and squid, and the less-familiar chitons.

All mollusk have a soft body, although this may be covered with a hard exoskeleton. Mollusks move using their muscular 'foot.'

Some mollusks, like periwinkles, feed on algae, while others, like whelks, are carnivores and may feed by drilling into another mollusk's shell.

Do you have a favorite mollusk species?

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Image: Queen Conch, NOAA

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