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The Architecture of a Univalve

This sliced whelk shows the main features of univalves (snails).
The names of the parts are handy to know when one is identifying and discussing shells.

The very tip is called the apex or protoconch.

The interior support is the columella.

Some shells have siphons at the end of the aperture to expel water and waste.

The apex and the rest of the top is called the spire.

The last encircling turn is the body whorl.

The opening of the shell is the aperture, sometimes closed with a door-like operculum.

Specimen courtesy of Roberto Ventura B. of Veracruz, Mexico.

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