Species Account

Gastrana fragilis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tellinoidea : Tellinidae

Tebble name: Gastrana fragilis (Linnaeus)
Smith & Heppell name: Gastrana fragilis (L., 1758)

To size: To 45mm. Shell Structure: Thin, brittle. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks to anterior. Tumidity: Not tumid. Outline: Ovate to trigonal with extended wedge-shaped posterior. Anterior broadly rounded, posterior almost twice the length of anterior and almost straight, ending in a rounded truncate protrusion. Contour: Slight anterior gape.

Sculpture: Irregularly spaced uneven concentric ridges. Margin: Smooth. Ligament: Prominent dark brown arched band extending a third of the posterior margin. Hinge: Two cardinals in each valve, anterior in LV is large and bifid. No laterals. Pallial Musculature: Deep, tongue-shaped pallial sinus, confluent with the pallial line for around a third of its length. Periostracum: Thin, beige. Colour: White, somtimes with tinges of peach.

Distribution & Ecology

A burrower in silty sand and silty shell gravels. Very sporadic from only a few known localities. Lowest intertidal and shallow sublittoral on SW coasts of Britain and Ireland, records from west Scotland are few and require confirmation.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Juvenile Description

Small shells and juveniles are less angulate and generally compressed and appear like a rough textured Tellina tenuis.

Key Features & Similar Species

The rough sculpture and extended, pointed, posterior distinguish this species from other tellins. The lack of lateral teeth indicate its affinity with Macoma but none of the Macoma species included have the pointed and extended posterior.

Related Species


Listed are literature citing Gastrana fragilis (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.

Record last modified: 22/03/2016