Species Account

Glossus humanus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Glossoidea : Glossidae

Tebble name: Glossus humanus (Linnaeus)
Smith & Heppell name: Glossus humanus (L., 1758)

To size: To 102mm. Shell Structure: Thin, solid. Equivalve: Equivalve. Equilateral: Inequilateral, beaks to the anterior. Tumidity: Tumid. Outline: Subcircular, beaks curve markedly forwards. From the anterior view, the valves together form the outline of the human heart. Dorsal margin comprised mostly of inflated beak, curving to the anterior margin. Anterior margin narrowly curved to the anterior-ventral margin, curving broadly into the ventral margin. ventral part of posterior margin straight, to a very broadly curved posterior margin which continues to the dorsal margin and the beaks.

Sculpture: Concentric ridges and lines. Parts of shells show fine radial lines which are very close together. Margin: Smooth. Ligament: External, mid brown, running a third the way to posterior margin. Hinge: Three cardinals in each valve; in LV 2 lower cardinals lie next to each, slightly overlapping each other, with the third above, posterior and parallel to the others. In RV top 2 are next to and overlapping slightly and posterior to the smaller anterior cardinal below these. One posterior lateral in each valve. Pallial Musculature: No pallial sinus. Periostracum: Olive green, brown, reddish in some. Colour: Creamy white.

Distribution & Ecology

A shallow burrower into mud and muddy sands, offshore. Once widespread it is now confined to a few sites on the west, especially in sheltered parts of the west of Scotland.

Depth Range
Continental Shelf (to 200m)

Additional Information & Related Species

Related Species

Glossoidea : Glossidae


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

Linnaeus C 1758. Systema Naturae. Editio decima. 1. Regnum Animale Holmiae, Laurentii Salvii. 824pp.
Owen G 1953. On the biology of Glossus humanus (L,) (Isocardia cor Lam). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 32: 85-106.


  • 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: 17/05/2016