Species Account

Hiatella arctica (Linnaeus, 1758)

Hiatelloidea : Hiatellidae

Tebble name: Hiatella arctica (Linnaeus)
Smith & Heppell name: Hiatella arctica (L., 1758)

To size: To 40mm. Shell Structure: Brittle rather thin. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral beaks close to the anterior. Outline: Trapezoidal - modioliform; anterior greatly reduced, umbos prominent; anterior dorsal margin sloping steeply, straight or concave to narrowly rounded anterior ventral; ventral margin long, straight or sinuous; Posterior dorsal margin long diverging from ventral margin to give a broad curved or subtruncate posterior. Posterior area set of by an angular umbonal posterior ventral ridge.

Sculpture: Of irregular co-marginal ridges and lines; posterior area with two radial ribs usually ornamented with short hollow spines. Margin: Inner margin smooth. Ligament: External, sunken, about 1/4 length of posterior dorsal margin. Hinge: Hinge teeth usually worn but RV with a single peg-like cardinal; LV with two similar cardinals. Pallial Musculature: Adductor scars unequal, posterior slightly the larger; pallial line fragmented, pallial sinus deep. Periostracum: Persistent, straw coloured. Colour: Shell white.

Distribution & Ecology

A nesting species attached by a weak byssus in crevices on hard substrates and among coarse ground and Modiolus beds and in kelp holdfasts. From the low intertidal to the shelf edge and upper slope. Widespread.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)
Continental Margin Zone (200 - 500m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Juvenile Description

As adult but more regular in outline and with the posterior ribs and spines well preserved.

Key Features & Similar Species

Differs from H. rugosa by the wedge rather than cylindrical shape, the presence of spines on the prominent posterior ribs and the nestling habit.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Hiatella arctica (Linnaeus, 1758). Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Linnaeus C 1758. Systema Naturae. Editio decima. 1. Regnum Animale Holmiae, Laurentii Salvii. 824pp.
Russell Hunter W. 1949. The structure and behaviour of “Hiatella gallicana” (Lamarck) and “H. arctica” (L.) with special reference to the bring habit. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. LXIII Part III (No. 19): 271-289.


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Record last modified: 22/03/2016