PORT PHILLIP BAY


Bivalve Mollusc 

Solemya australis Lamarck, 1818

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Species in this family can be recognised by the elongate shell covered by a thick, shiny periostracum which extends beyond the shell margins as a fringe. The animals are usually found burrowing in thick mud, often in areas with reduced oxygen (anoxic) and high organic content.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Mollusca
Subphylum:
Conchifera
Class:
Bivalvia
Subclass:
Protobranchia
Order:
Solemyoida
Family:
Solemyidae
Genus:
Solemya
Subgenus:
Solemya
Species:
australis

General Description

Shells of this species are thin, fragile with a dark brown external coating (periostracum) which covers the shell and is fringed along the posterior margin and extends considerably beyond the shell margin. Shell up to 6 cm across.

Biology

This species is among the few bivalves to be able to move about in water. They host symbiotic bacteria in their gills which are able to utilise hydrogen sulphide from the substrate to produce amino acids and carbohydrates for food. A consequence of this alternative food source is that the gut is often smaller than other bivalves. A special secretion gives the exterior valve surfaces a water shedding (hydrofuge) surface, making burrowing in the often sticky substrates easier.

Habitat

In clear, coarse sand, from mid-intertidal areas to depth of 10 m.

Soft substrates

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Sea snails and shells Bivalves

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

6 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Commercial Species

No

Species Code

MoV 1704

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Boyd, S.

Sue Boyd is an Honorary Associate in marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Boyd, S., 2011, Bivalve Mollusc, Solemya australis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 24 Sep 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/5636

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