Shell wedge-shaped, gaping at one end, and tapering to a point at the other, equivalve, horn-colour; hinge, toothless, straight, and long; ligament, linear, strong and elastic and internal, sometimes smooth, and at others with delicate ribs which radiate from the beaks, which are straight and pointed.

The Pinna is the largest of our British bivalves, and specimens are found twelve inches long and seven broad at the gaping end. Many pairs of this shell were found in the spring of 1862 on the beach at Dawlish, some of them with the fish still alive in them; but they were all small, the size of the one figured. Other localities mentioned by Forbes and Hanley are Salcomb Bay (where a bed of these shells was discovered by Montagu), Weymouth, all the Dorset coast, Milford Haven, the Hebrides, Zetland, and in Ireland, off the coasts of Londonderry, Antrim, Down, etc.; and at Youghal, where they are known by the name of "powder-horns/' the fishermen bring in fine specimens from the "Nymph Bank". Dr. Jeffreys was informed by Mr. Spence Bate, that at Plymouth the trawlers call the Pinnoe, "caper-longers," which word is supposed to be a corruption of cappa lunga, - the name they bear in the Mediterranean; and the familiarity of Plymouth seamen with such Italian words is accounted for by so many of our men-of-war having been at Naples. They are also known in Italy by the following names : - Nacherone, Madre-perna, Palostrega; and at Fiume, Piede de caval. In Franee they call them Jambonneaux; in Spain, Nacre; and in Germany, Stecmuschel.

* King's 'Adventures of the Beagle,' vol. i. p. 291. † Faber's 'Fisheries of the Adriatic'.

Pinna pectinata. Sea wing

Pinna pectinata. Sea-wing.

del _ G. B. Sowerby,Ml. Vincent Brooks,Imp.

The Pinnoe live in sand and mud, with the small end downwards, in an upright position, and attached by a very strong byssus of silky thread. A small species of crab lives frequently in the shell of the Pinna; and the following is a quaint description given by Pliny of the friendship of the Pinna and its little guest: - "The Pinna is also of the tribe of shellfishes. It is always found in muddy places, but never without a companion, which they call pinnoteres or pinnophylax, and which is a little shrimp, or in some places a crab, a searcher for food. The pinna first gapes open, and, being destitute of sight,exposes its body within to various little fishes, which come leaping by close to it, and being unmolested grow so bold as to skip into its shell and fill it full. The Pinnoteres, waiting for the opportunity, gives notice to the Pinna by a gentle pinch; upon which, shutting its mouth, it kills whatever is within the shell, and divides the spoil with its companion".*

Mr. Say† says, that a small crab (a species of Pinnoteres), which lives in the shell of the common American oyster (Ostrea virginica),is much valued by oyster eaters in the United States, and that in opening a large quantity of oysters, these little crabs are collected apart, and serve to gratify the palate of gourmands. They are only seven-twentieths of an inch long, by two-fifths wide.‡

The byssus, or silky thread of the Pinna, is called by the Sicilian fishermen, lana penna, and is manufactured into a silken fabric. It was known to the ancients, and called by them pinna-wool, and by the Tarentines lana pesca, or fish-wool. St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, in Cappadocia, mentions it in one of his homilies, saying, "Whence had the Pinna its gold-coloured wool, that colour which is inimitable? "§

Gibbon states that the Romans called the Pinna " the silk-worm of the sea," and that a robe made from the silk was the gift of a Roman Emperor to one of the Satraps of Armenia.

In Aufrére's travels is a description of the mode of collecting these shellfish by the Neapolitans, and of the manufacture of different articles from the silk: -

* Pliny, 'Nat. Hist bk. ix. c. 42 (or 66 Tr. Bohn).

† 'Journ. Acad. Sc. Phil.' i. 68.

‡ 'Popular Hist. Brit. Crustacea'.

§ 'Stolberg's Travels,' vol. ii. p. 151, translated by Thomas Holcroft.

"As soon as a pinna is discovered, an iron instrument, called pernonico, is slowly let down to the ground over the shell, which is then twisted round and drawn out. When the fishermen have got a sufficient number of them, the shell is opened, and the silk, called lana penna, is cut off the animal, and, after being twice washed in tepid water, once in soap and water, and twice again in tepid water, is spread upon a table, and suffered to become half dry in some cool and shady place. Whilst it is yet moist, it is softly rubbed and separated with the hand, and again spread upon the table to dry; and, when thoroughly dried, it is drawn through a wide comb, and afterwards through a narrow one. These combs are of bone, and resemble hair-combs. The silk thus combed belongs to the common sort, and is called extra dente; but that which is destined for finer work is again drawn through iron combs or cards, called scarde. It is then spun with a distaff and spindle, two or three threads of it being mixed with one of silk, after which they knit, not only gloves, stockings, and waistcoats, but even whole garments of it. When the piece is finished it is washed in clean water mixed with lemon-juice; after which it is gently beaten between the hand, and finally smoothed with a warm iron. The most beautiful are of a brown cinnamon, and glossy gold colour. A pair of gloves made of the Pinna silk may be seen in the British Museum; and in the International Exhibition some articles made of it were exhibited in the Italian Court, viz., a large shawl, gloves, and specimens of the thread in skeins".

As an article of food, the Pinna is nearly as good as the scallop, and Plutarch tells us that Matron, the parodist, speaks of it as forming one of the dishes at an Attic banquet, saying, -

"And pinnas sweet, and cockles fat were there, Which the wave breeds beneath its weedy bed".

Indeed, if we may judge from the number of times Athenaeus mentions it amongst the various eatable shellfishes, it formed a favourite article of food amongst the ancients, and was highly prized by them, as it is at Naples in these days, where it is considered a recherche morsel, and too expensive for the poor people to indulge in. It is of greater value for its byssus, than for the table.