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Mussel and Venus Shell

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Friday, 9th January 2009


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brown venus
horse mussel
horse mussel
horse mussel

Brown Venus, Callista chione, 9cm

Horse Mussel, Modiolus modiolus, 10.5cm

(I’m not guaranteeing that I’ve identified either of these shells correctly!)

I CAN’T NOW remember where I collected these but the Brown Venus must be from a sandy beach because grains of sand keep dropping out of the tiny holes in the shell.

C. M. Yonge

On the bookshelf behind me I’ve got a copy of the classic New Naturalist The Sea Shore (1949) by C. M. Yonge. Yonge is a name I’ve associated with the sea since coming across an 18th century journal of a ship’s surgeon of that name in the library at my grammar school.

Marine biologist Charles Maurice Yonge (1899 - 1986) was born far from the sea in Wakefield as his father John Arthur Yonge was headmaster at Silcoates School but in 1904 a ‘Great Fire’ resulted in the temporary exile of staff and pupils to Saltburn on the east coast.

Perhaps this is where the young Maurice Yonge developed his fascination for the sea. As well as The Sea Shore, he wrote A Year on the Barrier Reef (1930) where he has a reef at Lizard Island  named after him. It’s a long way from Saltburn. He was awarded the Darwin Medal in 1968.

Bruno Touschek

His daughter artist Elspeth Yonge who illustrated his Seashore Biology (1976, with John H. Barrett)  married holocaust survivor and particle physicist Bruno Touschek (1921-1978) whose ideas led to ADA, the first matter/ antimatter accelerator.

Link: biography and a couple of cartoons by Touschek at INFN, (National Institute of Nuclear Physics) Frascati, Rome.