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Teuthology, a branch of malacology, deals with the study of cephalopods, such as the giant squid pictured.

Malacology[1] is the branch of invertebrate zoology that deals with the study of the Mollusca (mollusks or molluscs), the second-largest phylum of animals in terms of described species[2] after the arthropods. Mollusks include snails and slugs, clams, octopus and squid, and numerous other kinds, many (but by no means all) of which have shells. One division of malacology, conchology, is devoted to the study of mollusk shells. Malacology derives from Greek μαλακός, malakos, "soft"; and -λογία, -logia.

Fields within malacological research include taxonomy, ecology and evolution. Applied malacology studies medical, veterinary, and agricultural applications, for example mollusks as vectors of disease, as in schistosomiasis.

Archaeology employs malacology to understand the evolution of the climate, the biota of the area, and the usage of the site.

In 1681, Filippo Bonanni wrote the first book ever published that was solely about seashells, the shells of marine mollusks.[3] The book was entitled: Ricreatione dell' occhio e dela mente nell oservation' delle Chiociolle, proposta a' curiosi delle opere della natura, &c..[4] In 1868, the German Malacological Society was founded.

Zoological methods are used in malacological research. Malacological field methods and laboratory methods (such as collecting, documenting and archiving, and molecular techniques) were summarized by Sturm et al. (2006).[5]


Main article: List of malacologists

Those who study malacology are known as malacologists. Those who study primarily or exclusively the shells of mollusks are known as conchologists.



Journals within the field of malacology include:


Museums that have either exceptional malacological research collections (behind the scenes) and/or exceptional public exhibits of mollusks:

Malacological Museum in Makarska, Croatia (entrance)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From French malacologie, contraction of malacozoologie, from New Latin Malacozoa "zoological group including soft-bodied animals" from Greek μαλακός - malakos "soft" + ζῷον "animal.
  2. ^ Home - Division of Malacology - FLMNH
  3. ^ Buonanni's Chiocciole (1681). Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  4. ^ (Italian) Bonanni F. 1681. Ricreatione dell' occhio e dela mente nell oservation' delle Chiociolle, proposta a' curiosi delle opere della natura, &c. 1681. Varese, Rome, xiv, 384 pp., 109 plates. figure 101.
  5. ^ Charles F. Sturm; Timothy A. Pearce; Ángel Valdés (July 2006). The mollusks. Universal-Publishers. ISBN 978-1-58112-930-4. 
  6. ^ Sociedad Mexicana de Malacología y Conquiliología
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ General Information. accessed 6 December 2010].
  9. ^ "THE NAUTILUS. A Quarterly Devoted to Malacology". Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  10. ^ Journal Impact Factor 2003. Retrieved 6 December 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cox L. R. & Peake J. F. (eds.). Proceedings of the First European Malacological Congress. September 17–21, 1962. Text in English with black-and-white photographic reproductions, also maps and diagrams. Published by the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Malacological Society of London in 1965 with no ISBN.
  • Heppel D. (1995). "The long dawn of Malacology: a brief history of malacology from prehistory to the year 1800." Archives of Natural History 22(3): 301-319.

External links[edit]