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The Bishop’s Newest Special Exhibition Packs a Punch

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature’s Newest Special Exhibition Packs a Punch

Opening on July 8, Battles of the Boneless features the fierce and fascinating lives of marine mollusks 

They may be spineless but marine mollusks are no pushovers! In fact, the gastropods that live in our oceans have fierce and fascinating lives employing a wide variety of superhero-like powers that make them more than just pretty shells.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is inviting guests to go beyond the beautiful shell to learn the real stories of these cool and complex animals in its newest special exhibition, Battles of the Boneless, opening July 8.


This comic-book themed exhibition explores the adaptations that have allowed mollusks to become one of the largest and most diverse animal groups on the planet, with more than 93,000 species.

“People are often fascinated by the colors, shapes or sizes of the shells of marine mollusks, but these animals are so much more than just a pretty face,” said Matthew D. Woodside, Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions at The Bishop. “In fact, their eating habits alone make them so fierce they could go foot-to-foot with any comic book superhero.

“Just take a look at cone snails. They have a harpoon hidden inside their proboscis that injects a potent venom cocktail into their prey. And murexes secrete acid to bore a hole into their prey. Marine mollusks really do pack a punch!”

Battles of the Boneless — developed by The Bishop’s own expert curators exclusively for the Museum — explores five groups of marine snails:

Tritons — among the fastest-moving marine snails (pictured above).

Conchs — one of the most widely recognized groups in Florida, thanks to menu items like conch fritters and conch chowder.

Cones — of the 700 species worldwide, five are found in Florida.

Moon snails — which use their sense of smell to locate prey.

Murexes — which were used by ancient people to create dye.

The Bishop has more than 20,000 mollusk shells in our collection,” Woodside said. “We’re pleased that this exhibition gives us an opportunity to showcase some of them, but we also wanted to help visitors understand the important role that these often-overlooked animals play in their ecosystems. Some of them have incredible adaptations, which really are a kind of superpower!”

Battles of the Boneless is open starting July 8 in the Museum’s East Gallery. Visiting is included in the price of admission.