Species Account

Xylophaga dorsalis (Turton, 1819)

Pholadoidea : Xylophagaidae

Tebble name: Xylophaga dorsalis (Turton)
Smith & Heppell name: Xylophaga dorsalis (Turton, 1819)

To size: To 15mm. Shell Structure: Thin, brittle. Mesoplax over umbos, large, roughly the shape of a quadrant (1/4 circle). Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks in front of midline. Tumidity: Globular. Outline: Oval almost circular, posterior broadly rounded, not gaping; anterior beaked with a wide pedal gape forming a right angled cut away section.

Sculpture: Shell divided by a sharp carina running vertically from beak to ventral margin and weakly sulcate either side of carina; posterior area with fine co-marginal lines; anterior area with about 50 serrated oblique ridges; anterior lobe with similar ridges but oriented parallel with upper edge of pedal gape. Margin: Inner margin smooth. Ligament: Internal supported by a small chondrophore in the LV. Hinge: Umbonal reflection small, raised anteriorly. Pallial Musculature: Apophysis absent. Median groove prominent internally. Periostracum: Thin, pale brown. Colour: Dirty white.

Distribution & Ecology

A borer into water logged, submerged wood. Mostly found when cast on shore. Widespread.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Key Features & Similar Species

The shell is similar to that of the Teredinidae but lacks an apophysis and possesses a mesoplax. The only other near shore species X. praestans grows to a larger size, the mesoplax is triangular and the shell gapes posteriorly.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Xylophaga dorsalis (Turton, 1819). Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Purchon R D 1941. On the biology and relationships of the lamellibranch Xylophaga dorsalis (Turton). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 25: 1-39.
Turton W 1819. A conchological dictionary of the British Islands London. 272pp, 28pls.


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Record last modified: 17/05/2016