The Houston Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1909 – meaning that the curators of the Houston Museum of Natural Science have been collecting and preserving natural and cultural treasures for a hundred years now. For this yearlong series, our current curators have chosen one hundred exceptional objects from the Museum’s immense storehouse of specimens and artifacts—one for each year of our history. Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind-the-scenes curiosities—we will post the image and description of a new object every few days.
This description is from Tina, the museum’s associate curator of malacology. She has chosen a selection of objects that represent the most fascinating shells and animals in the Museum’s collections, that we’ll be sharing here – and at 100.hmns.org– throughout the year.
Lion’s Paws – Nodipecten fragosus (Conrad, 1849)
The Nodipecten fragosus is a member of the Pectinidae family, and ranges from Cape Hatterus, North Carolina through Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico. The colors are variable from brown, purple, pink, orange, red, to yellow and multiple colors appearing on a single specimen. It gets its common name from the knobs formed on the outer surfaces of both valves which resemble the paws of a lion. As a member of the Pecten family, they are edible as a scallop but do not occur in sufficient members to make them a reliable source commercially.