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Introduction

The Pacific Northwest is one of the world's favourite outdoor recreation spots, known for its rugged natural beauty or its rich, abundant wildlife. Because of its temperate climate warm ocean currents, the area is home to an especially rich variety of marine life, including hundreds of species of shellfish. Campers, hikers, swimmers, divers and beachcombers can find a cornucopia of intertidal and subtidal creatures, from the tiny Adanson lepton to the Giant Pacific chiton.

This guide introduces 225 of the most familiar species to be found along the Northwest Coast-the clams, oysters, mussels, abalone, snails, whelks, tusks, chitons and other common shellfish that inhabit the beaches, shallow waters and intertidal areas near salt water. All of them are members of the phylum Mollusca (the mollusks), and they are among the most abundant and interesting creatures in the world.