Collection of Cowrie Seashells on Black Background with reflection of shells. Diversity of the Cowrie species Cypraeidae. There are over 250 known species living in warm sea areas. The exterior of the egg-shaped shell is smooth and highly polished. Interesting Facts: During the Roman period, cowries were known as Porculi, meaning little pigs. The name was later lengthened to Porceletta. When fine pottery was introduced to European society from the Far East, the shape of these new items reminded people of the Porceletta shells. Thus, the term porcelain was given to the pottery. In some countries, the cowrie shell represents fertility, and is given to brides to guarantee offspring and provide a safe delivery. Cowries have also been used in art, as money, jewelry and as religious symbols since the beginning of man. Classification: Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Mollusca Class: Gastropoda Superfamily: Cypraeoidea Family: Cypraeidae Genus: Cypraea.

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