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.
Cypraea cervus – Linne, 1771
“Cowries” are among the most numerous of the molluscan Families. This species of Cypraea can be found from off North Carolina, to Florida, Cuba and Brazil. But it is also rarely found off the Texas coast in an area known as The Flower Garden Banks.
These glossy shells are not found on Texas’ beaches because the distance to shore is too great to allow the shells to wash in so far. But divers and researchers have documented and collected a few specimens. This is one of the specimens that HMNS has in its collection.