Stellar shells are low surface brightness arcs of overdense stellar regions, extending to large galactocentric distances. In a companion study, we identified 39 shell galaxies in a sample of 220 massive ellipticals (
) from the Illustris cosmological simulation. We used stellar history catalogs to trace the history of each individual star particle inside the shell substructures, and we found that shells in high-mass galaxies form through mergers with massive satellites (stellar mass ratios
). Using the same sample of shell galaxies, the current study extends the stellar history catalogs in order to investigate the metallicity of stellar shells around massive galaxies. Our results indicate that outer shells are often times more metal-rich than the surrounding stellar material in a galaxy’s halo. For a galaxy with two different satellites forming
shells, we find a significant difference in the metallicity of the shells produced by each progenitor. We also find that shell galaxies have higher mass-weighted logarithmic metallicities ([Z/H]) at 2–
compared to galaxies without shells. Our results indicate that observations comparing the metallicities of stars in tidal features, such as shells, to the average metallicities in the stellar halo can provide information about the assembly histories of galaxies.
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