Species Account

Ensis minor (Chenu, 1843)

Solenoidea : Pharidae

Tebble name: n/a
Smith & Heppell name: Ensis siliqua var. minor (Chenu, 1843)

To size: To 150mm. Shell Structure: Brittle. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks at the anterior end. Outline: Ensiform, dorsal and ventral margins straight, parallel; Anterior and posterior truncate. Posterior compressed, posterior gape lozenge-shaped in cross section.

Sculpture: Of co-marginal lines and growth stops. Margin: Inner margin smooth. Ligament: External, a long narrow brown/black band behind the beaks. Hinge: LV with two rather bulbous cardinals and two laminar posterior laterals, one lying above the other; RV with a single laminar cardinal and a single posterior lateral. Pallial Musculature: Pallial sinus U-shaped, separation of posterior adductor scar and pallial sinus equal to or slightly less than length of adductor scar. Anterior adductor scar exceeding length of ligament; pedal retractor muscle close to end of ligament. Periostracum: Greenish becoming darker and brown at the margins. Colour: Dirty white, cream, grayish some banded reddish brown.

Distribution & Ecology

Due to the uncertain status of this species and difficulty in separating it from E. siliqua the actual distribution is uncertain. It has the same habits as E. siliqua, burrowing in sand from the low intertidal to nearshore shelf depths. It is reported from a few localities on the east coast of England and Scotland. We have shells identified by Rudo von Cosel from the Firth of Forth. It was originally described from the Mediterranean and we have shells from the Atlantic coast of France.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species


Listed are literature citing Ensis minor (Chenu, 1843). Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Chenu J C 1843. Illustrations conchyliogiques, ou description et figures de toutes les coquilles connues vivant et fossiles Paris, Franck.


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Record last modified: 22/03/2016