The Biology of Molluscs

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Phylum Mollusca is the second most diverse phylum of animals, with over 100,000 know species. First examined are the basic characteristics of the phylum – a soft body, muscular foot, mantle cavity with gill, and hard calcified shell. The four most familiar classes of molluscs (chitons; gastropods, bivalves, and cephalopods) are studied in depth, viewing structure, life history, adaptations and ecological interactions. The Phylum Mollusca has an ancient heritage, as shown by 510 million year old fossils from the Burgess Shales in Western Canada, unfolding into the modern view of Molluscan evolutionary relationships.

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