Marine Shells of Goa
A Guide to Identification
by Sangeeta M. Sonak
ISBN 9783319550978, published by Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2017, hardcover, about 5.5 by 9 inches, 14 by 23cm., 249 pages, color photographs of various sizes throughout the book
The "Marine Shells of Goa," despite its subtitle, is much more than just an identification guide to the marine mollusks found off Goa, on the western coast of India in the Arabian Sea. It does serve as an identification guide to these shells but also covers shell classification, ecology, biology, ethno-conchology, and a fascinating chapter called "some interesting known and unknown facts about shells." In this chapter, you will find some unusual information, including the use of shells in assassination attempts. I won't reveal them here, and you'll have to buy the book. The species that the book covers are, for the most part, common ones with a wide range of distribution. But, with very few shell books that cover India, this book is nice to have as a record of their distribution. I like the book, and I think that the author has done a very good job covering a lot of material. I do have a few quibbles with the production of the book. Its' pages are printed on matte paper, and consequently, the photos have a flat, dull look to them. Using coated glossy paper would not have added greatly to the book's production cost and should have been the option used. For the most part, the specimens used for the book's illustrations are mostly dead, beach worn specimens which are a far cry from what anyone expects in a book like this one. Lastly, I should mention that the pictures of the gastropods pictured on the front cover are "flipped" so that they appear as sinistral shells. This happened all too often years ago, but there is no excuse for this today. I can only hope that the person or persons ,whose job it was to oversee the production of this book, have found employment in some other field.