The shells are offered for sale in quantities by curio dealers in coast towns. Portieres are made by stringing these shells, prepared by grinding off the apex. I have seen stringers alter nate shells with glass beads. To many people these clattering strands seem desirable household impedimenta to hang in door ways, or as draperies for windows. The shells retain their pretti ness though mutilated, and devoted to inappropriate uses.
The stringing of these olive shells began with the Indians who used them as money. These strings of shells beads were called Kol-Kol.
The Angled Olive (0. angulata, Lam.) is distinguished by the angular swelling of the body whorl, above the middle, and by the great thickness of the shell. The aperture is much wider than is usual in the genus. The pale ground is finely mottled with grayish brown; over this under pattern are laid longitudinal bands of dark brown in graphic, zigzag lines. The pink callus of the interior is reflected over the thick margin of the lip. The oblique folds on the columella are anterior and rather faint. The spire is short, its suture narrow and deep. The young shell lacks the angle, but the pink lining distinguishes it from species with similar markings. Length, 21 to 31 inches.
The Porphyry Olive (0. porphyria, Linn.), 4 inches long, is the largest species. It is flesh-coloured under a complex net work of longitudinally zigzag brown lines. Crowding of these lines gives the effect of irregular broad bands of chestnut. The callus reflected over the lips from within is violet-coloured and lustrous. The columella is yellowish brown with faint ridges.
The paler areas of the surface are triangles outlined with brown. They look like a vast encampment of tents, of all sizes, on a hillside. The name "Camp Olive" is thus accounted for. The resemblance to porphyry is also pronounced.
This agile mollusk is found in sandy mud flats at low tide. Habitat.—Panama to Mazatlan.
The Netted Olive (0. reticularis, Lam.) has an intricate lace pattern of fine lines of brown woven upon a white ground, 93 The Olive Shells. Rice Shells. Harp Shells in the typical form. The colour is slightly faded in three re volving bands. Fine lines, gathered as if into fringes edge the sutures. The columellar folds are numerous; only the anterior ones are strong. The apex is elongated.
From the type, divergence in colour is great, leading from dark rich brown to white. But the netted pattern is rarely lost or covered up. The shells are heavy. Length, l to 2i inches.
Habitat.— West Indies, Florida.
The west coast form of the netted olive is 0. araneosa, Lam., a somewhat larger, broader shell, and less cylindrical, being swollen above the middle. The spire is prominent; the body whorl drawn in below the narrow suture. The creamy ground
is overlaid with chestnut or darker brown in zigzag series of indistinct spots.
Habitat.— Panama to Lower California.
The narrowing anterior end of the shell separates this species (and not very satisfactorily) from 0. reticularis. The aperture is lined with violet, sometimes faded almost to white in cabinet specimens.
These polished olive shells, 11 to 21 inches long, are picked up on sand beaches from Beaufort, N. C., to Key West, and through out the West Indies. They apparently live in colonies. I have found them alive on the inland beaches of Marco Bay, on the West coast of Florida. The two thin reflexed mantle flaps and the broad foot have the same colours and markings as the shell, and blend well with the wet sand and gravel as the creature ploughs along, half-buried, to overtake the receding water. Probably the small thin-shelled bivalves met pn the way furnish daily rations'of fresh meat.
These "Panama shells" are collected and strung to make portieres which sell at good prices to Northern tourists.
Three species are markedly different in shape from the typical cylindrical olive shell.
The Fusiform Olive (0. fusiformis,Lam.) is broad shouldered with a tapering spire and base. Its pale surface is marked with 94 The Olive Shells. Rice Shells. Harp Shells brown zigzags, remote, or so close as to form areas of solid colour. Length, 11 to 2 inches.
Habitat.— West Indies.
The Gibbous Olive (0. gibbosa, Born.) has a stout ovate shell, almost a cone in outline, not unlike that of Strombus pugilis. The callus on the columella, as it approaches the spire, widens and thickens, forming a great swelling, which spreads over the coils, and winds a white band to the apex. The surface is creamy white, darkened by an intricate network of chestnut, spirally banded with white below. Length, 11 to 21 inches.
Habitat.— Ceylon, West Africa.
The Brazilian Olive (0. Bra?iliinsis, Lam.) is a more dis tinct cone, for its spire is flat. It is like a helmet shell. The callus that overlies it leaves the sharp apex protruding, and the greater part of the suture open. There is a thick round patch of callus at the head of the columella. The base of the shell has a broad, shiny zone of fawn colour like the lining of the lip. The body whorl is crossed with fine, close-set lines ranging from chocolate to pale violet. Length, 2 to 21 inches.