About the Project


  1. Mollusks have been served by humans in numerous ways for thousands of years. Many species of shells have been modified into ornaments, tools, and money etc. Shells remain in archaeological sites attest the use of the flesh as food or bait, and to the use of pearls etc. Shells have been used as fill, building material, burials layers, and containers; they have been treated to extract their pigments; cut up for inlay, cameos, buttons, beads, trinkets, pearl nuclei; and ground for pottery temper, poultry feed, medicine, and fertilizer. There are many shell midden or shell matrix sites in Taiwan, such as Taipei Yenshan Midden, Taipei Shihsanhang Shell-left, Ilan Chiwulan Shell matrix, the Central Taiwan Science Park and the Southern Science Park etc. Archaeologists have been interested in shell artifacts and shell matrix sites for about over 200 years. We (Malacology Lab., Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica) have identified when the shells, shell-tools, even fossil shells were harvested, and integrate all data to the Taiwan Malacofauna Database and Website.
  2. This project integrates the shell specimens inventory data and shell-related information annually. The integrated Taiwan Malacofauna Database contains the living mollusks as well as pre-history shell information and could monitor the environmental change to impact the human life.
  3. Through the Phylogeny study of the Taiwan mollusks, some taxonomical changes could happen anytime. We should update latest changes and information to the Taiwan Malacofauna Database and Website.

The website structure:

The Taiwan Malacofauna Database includes the following sub-databases:

  1. The Catalogue database : Basic information with photos of each species;
  2. The Distribution database : Through the website, users can seek the shell distribution in the Taiwan area;
  3. The Bibliographic database;
  4. The Curatorial database: One can inquire about the approximately 10,000 lots and more than 2,000 species of mollusks inventory at the Malacology Laboratory, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica (the GIS data are also included);
  5. The Chinese shell names of the world shells: The Chinese names of 4,200 common species in the world are provided for promoting the unification of Chinese molluscan names;
  6. The New Species and new records Shell Database : More than 200 new species which have been reported from the Taiwan Waters since 1960;
  7. Microarchitecture and radulae of mollusks;
  8. The Shell Midden database;
  9. The Shell fossil database;
  10. The World Shellbase; The Miscellaneous.

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