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The glossary provided here is largely based on “Seashells of Southern Florida: Bivalves,” by Paula M. Mikkelsen & Rüdiger Bieler, Princeton University Press. Production of this glossary was funded in part by the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships in Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy [PEET] Program, NSF-DEB-9978119, “Bivalves - Research, Training, Electronic Dissemination of Data” (1999-2008) to Bieler and Mikkelsen.


Beads, usually elongated rectangular in shape, carved by eastern native Americans from the purple-and-white shells of the venerid Mercenaria mercenaria (also from gastropod shells of the genus Busycon), and used to produce belts the design of which recorded significant agreements or events (with a higher proportion of purple beads if the agreement was considered very serious or important); it was used as formal currency after contact with colonizing Europeans.