Species Account

Pholas dactylus Linnaeus, 1758

Pholadoidea : Pholadidae

Tebble name: Pholas dactylus Linnaeus
Smith & Heppell name: Pholas dactylus L.,1758 1758

To size: To 150mm. Shell Structure: Brittle, with protoplax, mesoplax and metaplax. Equivalve: Subequivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks well forward of midline. Tumidity: Inflated. Outline: Subcylindrical, anterior expanded. Posterior extended narrowly rounded; anterior beaked with a pedal gape.

Sculpture: Of co-marginal raised ridges and radiating riblets; over posterior riblets are obscure; over anterior riblets are dominant with short spines at intersections and making margin around pedal gape denticulate. Margin: Inner margins smooth. Ligament: Ligament small internal on projecting chondrophores. Hinge: Umbonal reflection with septae, visible only with protoplax removed. Pallial Musculature: Pallial sinus extending to midline. Apophysis short, flattened. Periostracum: Dirty pale brown. Colour: Shell white.

Distribution & Ecology

A borer into soft rock, clay peat and submerged wood from low in the intertidal, sublittoral and shallow shelf. Restricted to the English Channel, SW England, Irish Sea and SW Ireland

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species


Listed are literature citing Pholas dactylus Linnaeus, 1758. Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Linnaeus C 1758. Systema Naturae. Editio decima. 1. Regnum Animale Holmiae, Laurentii Salvii. 824pp.


  • Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland
    Provides resources for understanding, identifying, recording, and conserving molluscs
    Check List of European Marine Mollusca
  • MarLIN
    The Marine Life Information Network for Britain and Ireland (MarLIN) provides information for marine environmental management, protection and education. It is a centre of excellence in spatially based and time-series marine biological information and supports good stewardship in the marine environment.
  • NBN Gateway
    National Biodiversity Network's Gateway. Use it to explore UK biodiversity data, as contributed by participating data providers.
  • BivAToL
  • MarBEF
  • Malacological Society
  • Unitas Malacologica
  • Census of Marine Life
  • MarBEF
    MarBEF, a network of excellence funded by the European Union and consisting of 94 European marine institutes, is a platform to integrate and disseminate knowledge and expertise on marine biodiversity, with links to researchers, industry, stakeholders and the general public.

Image Gallery

Record last modified: 22/03/2016