Clams and Mussels

Atlantic Surf Clam, Razor Clam - Assateaque Island National Park

Left: Surf Clam Right: Razor Clam

Surf Clam

Spisula solidissima

Grows to 6 inches wide. The majority of clams consumed in the United States are of this species.

Razor Clam

Ensis directus

The thin, somewhat fragile shell is shaped somewhat like the blade of a straight razor, hence the name. Also sometimes called the jackknife clam. Found in sandy mud in bays, estuaries and salt marshes. Edible bivalve, typically harvested at 5 to 7 inches in length, can grow to 10 inches.

Stout Razor Clam

Stout Razor Clam

Tagelus plebeius

Found in coastal bays burrowed in mud and sandy substrates. Edible Grows to 4 inches long. Also known as the Stout Tagelus

Angel wing clam, ribbed mussel, blue mussel - Assateaque Island National Park

Top: Angel Wing Bottom Left: Ribbed Mussel Bottom Right : Blue Mussel

Angel Wing

Cyrtopleura costata

The Angel wing is a clam that is found in coastal wetlands where burrrows in the mud sometimes to a depth of a foot or more. The shells are thin, fragile and white. Sometimes the shells can found along the beach after being uprooted during storms but seldom are they completely intact. P>

Atlantic Ribbed Mussel

Geukensia demissa

Found in sand and mud flats of salt marshes. They can grow to 4 inches long. Shell is brown to black with well defined ribs along the length. Interior of the shell is shiny white. They are generally edible but sometimes are made poisonous by consuming the algae responsible for red tides.

Blue Mussel

Mytilus edulis

The blue mussel anchors itself to rocks and pilings with byssal threads excreted from a pore in its foot. A popular seafood blue mussels are to be found in many markets the U.S. and Europe.


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