by Martha Mazon.
Jingle shells, also known as Mermaid's Toenails, shown here in a scallop shell; shot in window light to highlight their iridescence. The flesh of the members of this family is distastefully bitter, but the shells are important commercially. Fishermen disperse them over oyster beds in a process known as shelling. Covering an area with jingle shells provides a good surface upon which juvenile American oysters can settle.