Mactra glauca (Born, 1778)

Author & date of last revision: Steve Wilkinson on 10 July 2011


Glossy shell up to about 11cm in length. Creamy white in colour with pale brown radiating rays. The inside is white tinted with pale brown. The surface is sculptured with fine concentric rings and is covered with a satin brown periostracum.

Key identification features

  • The anterior cardinal tooth of the right valve is not parallel with the hinge line

Similar species

  • Mactra stultorum has the anterior cardinal tooth in right valve almost parallel to hinge line

Ecology and behaviour

Burrows in clean sand where it filter feeds on phytoplankton. If exposed by the tide it burrows deeper (to about 7cm)

Distribution and status


Distributed from the south of Britain to the Mediterranean

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Outside of right valve
Image ©

Steve Wilkinson

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Recorded UK distribution