Paphia aurea

(Gmelin, 1791)

Description (shell):
Shell oval to subtriangular, hinge line sloping away from umbones on both sides; regularly convex anteriorly and posteriorly. Umbones just anterior to midline. Sculpture of numerous, fine, concentric ridges and grooves, and faint radiating striations. Lunule elongate, distinct; escutcheon poorly defined. Each valve with three cardinal teeth; centre one of left valve, and centre and posterior of right, bifid. Adductor scars and pallial line distinct. Pallial sinus U-shaped, not extending beyond midline of shell, reaching a point below posterior part of the ligament; lower limb of sinus distinct from pallial line for the whole of its length (P. aurea-drawing).

Up to 45 mm long.

Colour variable: off-white, cream, yellow, or light brown, usually with deeper reddish or purplish-brown markings, in a variety of patterns. Inner surfaces glossy, white or yellow, often with orange or purple markings.

A shallow burrower in mixed soft bottoms, from the lower shore into the shallow sublittoral.

Distributed from Norway to the Mediterranean and north-west Africa (Distr. P. aurea).