Species Account

Xylophaga praestans E A Smith, 1903

Pholadoidea : Xylophagaidae

Tebble name: Xylophaga praestans E A. Smith
Smith & Heppell name: Xylophaga praestans E A. Smith, 1903

To size: To 20mm. Shell Structure: Thin, brittle. Mesoplax large, sharply triangular in outline. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Subequilateral, beaks almost at midline. Tumidity: Globular. Outline: Oval almost circular, posterior broadly rounded, gaping widely; 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 sulcate either side of carina; posterior area with fine co-marginal lines; anterior area with a wide smooth section then with about 40 serrated oblique ridges; anterior lobe with similar ridges but oriented parallel with upper edge of pedal gape and widely separated. 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. Posterior adductor scar striated. Periostracum: Thin, greenish brown. Colour: Shell white.

Distribution & Ecology

A borer into water logged, submerged wood. A rare species known only from a few finds in the North Sea. It is unlikely that the distribution is so restricted and it might be assumed to range over the entire shelf.

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. dorsalis is smaller, the mesoplax is quadrant shaped and the shell does not gape posteriorly.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Xylophaga praestans E A Smith, 1903. Reference containing the species Type Description is highlighted.

Smith E A 1903. On Xylophaga praestans, n. sp. from the English coast. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London. 5: 328-330.


  • 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: 17/05/2016