Species Account

Zirfaea crispata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Pholadoidea : Pholadidae

Tebble name: Zirfaea crispata (Linnaeus)
Smith & Heppell name: Zirfaea crispata (L., 1758)

To size: To 90mm. Shell Structure: Solid, with a small triangular mesoplax. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks in front of midline. Tumidity: Inflated. Outline: Subrectangular, posterior slightly elongated, roundly subtruncate; anterior beaked with a large pedal gape. Contour: With a median narrow sulcus running almost vertically from beak to ventral margin.

Sculpture: Posterior of median sulcus of co-marginal ridges; anterior with co-marginal ridges and radial riblets with low spines at intersections and giving a denticulate margin around pedal gape. Margin: Inner margin smooth. Hinge: Umbonal reflection raising above umbo anteriorly. Pallial Musculature: Pallial sinus broad, extending to midline. Apophysis long, broad and flat. Periostracum: Periostracum pale brown. Colour: Shell white.

Distribution & Ecology

A borer into soft sedimentary rock, from low in the intertidal to depths of around 10m. Distributed throughout the UK and from Iceland and Norway south to the Bay of Biscay.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Key Features & Similar Species

The broad shape and weak median sulcus are distinctive; only juvenile P. loscombiana is at all similar but that species has a thinner shell, is more elongate and does not gape posteriorly.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Zirfaea crispata (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