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Aquatic Invertebrate Symbols

Marine invertebrates aren’t nearly as popular as symbols as are birds, mammals, or even insects. Nevertheless, state shells are especially popular among the 50 U.S. states.

Let’s take a brief tour.

National Symbols ˆ

United States ˆ

Vertebrates and insects are not the only animals adopted as state symbols. Aquatic invertebrates are also popular, particularly mollusks and crustaceans. Most aquatic invertebrates adopted as state symbols are marine species. The exceptions are crayfish and two tiny crustaceans adopted by Utah and the District of Columbia.

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The symbols below were all named the state shell unless indicated otherwise in the “Designation” column.

List of State Shells
State Species Designation
Alabama Johnstone’s junonia (Scaphella junonia)   1990
Connecticut eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) Shellfish 1989
Delaware channeled whelk (Busycotypus canaliculatus)   2014
Florida horse conch (Pleuroploca gigantea)   1969
Georgia knobbed whelk (Busycon carica) Seashell 1987
Kentucky freshwater pearl (Unionoida) Gemstone 1986
Louisiana eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) Cabachon Gemstone 2011
Massachusetts New England Neptune (Neptunea lyrata)   1987
Mississippi oyster shell (Crassostrea virginica)   1974
New Jersey knobbed whelk (Busycon carica)   1995
New York bay scallop (Argopecten irradians)   1988
North Carolina Scotch bonnet (Phalium granulatum)   1965
Oregon Oregon hairy triton (Fusitriton oregonensis)   1989
Rhode Island quahaug (Mercenaria mercenaria)   1987
South Carolina lettered olive (Oliva sayana)   1984
Tennessee Tennessee River pearls (Unionoida) Gem 1979
Texas lightning whelk (Busycon perversum)   1987
Virginia oyster shell (Crassostrea virginica)   1974
Washington Ostrea lurida Oyster 2014

The species below were designated official crustaceans except for the Hay’s Spring amphipod, which was designated the official amphipod.

List of State Crustaceans
State Species
Alabama brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus) 2015
District of Columbia Hay’s Spring amphipod (Stygobromus hayi) 2017
Louisiana crawfish (Cambaridae) 1983
Maine Maine lobster (Homarus americanus) 2016
Maryland blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) 1989
Missouri crayfish (Cambaridae) 2007
Oregon Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) 2009
Texas Texas Gulf shrimp (Penaeus spp.) 2015
Utah brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana) 2023
Other State Aquatic Invertebrates
State Species Designation
Delaware horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) Marine Animal 2002
Hawaii black coral (Antipathidae) Gem 1987
Rhode Island northern star coral (Astrangia poculata) Coral 2021

Japan ˆ

List of Prefectural Crustaceans
Prefecture Symbol  
Aichi Kuruma prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicus) 1990
Fukui Echizen crab (snow crab) (Chionoecetes opilio elongatus)
Kumamoto prawn (Palinuridae) 1989

Other Aquatic Invertebrate Symbols ˆ

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