Species Account

Mercenaria mercenaria (Linnaeus, 1758)

Veneroidea : Veneridae

Tebble name: Venus (Mercenaria) mercenaria (Linnaeus)
Smith & Heppell name: Mercenaria mercenaria (L., 1758)

To size: To 130mm. Shell Structure: Solid. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral. Beaks in front of midline. Tumidity: Rather tumid. Outline: Subovate. Long, steep posterior dorsal margin. Heart-shaped lunule, broad, protrusive, extends to most of the anterior dorsal margin and has radiating ridges. Escutcheon indistinct.

Sculpture: Concentric lines which are raised into ridges at anterior and posterior. Margin: Ventral and anterior (up to umbo) margin finely crenulate. Ligament: Ligament is raised and extends to almost half of dorsal margin. Hinge: 3 cardinals in each valve, in both valves centre and posterior bifid. No laterals. Region above posterior cardinals has rough appearance like a tooth has been broken off. Pallial Musculature: Muscle scars roughly equal: Posterior slightly fatter than Anterior. Pallial sinus shallow extends just to a 1/3rd of way to posterior, triangular. Periostracum: Thin, matt. Colour: Dirty white/grey/brown-grey occasionally with red-brown zigzags near margins.

Distribution & Ecology

A shallow burrower in coarse but muddy sediments. Intertidal. Introduced in scattered localities, SE England, English Channel, SW & NW Wales and W Scotland.

Depth Range

Additional Information & Related Species


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

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


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Record last modified: 19/05/2016