Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution
Dr Harvey Tyler-Walters
Other common names
Lima hians (Gmelin, 1791)
The edge of the fleshy mantle bears numerous conspicuous, red and orange filamentous tentacles. The shell is thin, solid, equivalve and oval in outline, tapering towards the beaks, and usually about 2.5 cm in length but occasionally reaching 4 cm. The beaks bear an 'ear' like projection on each side, the anterior 'ear' being more prominent. The shell gaps on both sides. The shell is white in young specimens becoming whitish-brown with age. The shell bears clear growth steps and ca 50 radiating ribs that extend to a crenulate margin. When disturbed this species can swim actively using jets of water expelled by 'clapping' its shells together and a rowing motion of its tentacles.
Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland
Patchy records from off Plymouth Sound, Skokholm, southern Isle of Man, western coasts and lochs of Scotland, and Mulroy Bay, Northern Ireland.
Recorded from the Lofoten Isles Norway, Iceland, south to the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, Canary Isles and Azores.
Found from low water to ca 100 m on coarse sand, gravel, broken shells and stones. It may occupy 'nests' of byssus threads among rubble, under stones or in the holdfasts of laminarians. When abundant, the 'nests' may coalesce to form a carpet or reef over shell-sand, which may provide a substratum for kelps.
Lower shore to ca 100m
Mantle edge bears numerous, conspicuous red and orange contractile tentacles.
Hinge line drawn out into 'ears'.
Shell, oval in outline, inequilateral, usually white and bearing ca 50 radiating ribs.
Allen, J.A. 1962. The fauna of the Clyde Sea area. Mollusca. Millport: Scottish Marine Biological Association.
Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
Crothers, J.H. (ed.), 1966. Dale Fort Marine Fauna. London: Field Studies Council.
Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gilchrist, J.D.F., 1896. Lima hians and its mode of life. Transactions of the Natural History Society of Glasgow, 4, 218-225.
Hall-Spencer, J.M. & Moore, P.G., 2000a. Impact of scallop dredging on maerl grounds. In Effects of fishing on non-target species and habitats. (ed. M.J. Kaiser & S.J., de Groot) 105-117. Oxford: Blackwell Science.
MBA (Marine Biological Association), 1957. Plymouth Marine Fauna. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
Minchin, D., 1995. Recovery of a population of the flame shell, Lima hians, in an Irish bay previously contaminated with TBT. Environmental Pollution, 90, 259-262.
Tebble, N., 1976. British Bivalve Seashells. A Handbook for Identification, 2nd ed. Edinburgh: British Museum (Natural History), Her Majesty's Stationary Office.
Waren, A., 1989. New and little known Mollusca from Iceland. Sarsia, 74, 1-28.
This review can be cited as:
Tyler-Walters, H., 2008. Limaria hians Gaping file shell. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1768
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