Unusual Micrometric Calcite–Aragonite Interface in the Abalone Shell Haliotis (Mollusca, Gastropoda)
Species of Haliotis abalone! show high variety in structure and mineralogy of the shell. One of the European species Haliotis tuberculata! in particular has an unusual shell structure in which calcite and aragonite coexist at a microscale with small patches of aragonite embedded in larger calcitic zones. A detailed examination of the boundary between calcite and aragonite using analytical microscopies shows that the organic contents of calcite and aragonite differ. Moreover, changes in the chemical composition of the two minerals seem to be gradual and define a micrometric zone of transition between the two main layers. A similartransition zone has been observed between the layers in more classical and regularly structured mollusk shells. The imbrication of microscopic patches of aragonite within a calcitic zone suggests the occurrence of very fastphysiological changes in these taxa.