The New England neptune has joined the ranks of the mayflower, the American elm, the chickadee and the ladybug as symbols of Massachusetts.
The neptune became the official seashell of Massachusetts when Gov. Michael S. Dukakis on Wednesday signed a bill passed by the Legislature.
The neptune won a legislative struggle with the quahog to gain the honor. State Sen. Paul Doane argued that the quahog had greater ties to Massachusetts history--it once was used as a form of currency.
But Doane backed down last week after he learned that Rhode Island had recently enshrined the quahog, which is a type of clam.