information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A bivalve mollusc (Kurtiella bidentata)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



A very small commensal bivalve, up to 3 mm in length. The shell is slightly oval in shape with a smooth margin. The umbones are posterior to the mid-line. The shell is white or translucent with a light brown or olive periostracum. Each valve has a single anterior and single posterior lateral tooth. The sculpture of the shells consisits of fine concentric lines.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widespread around the British Isles but with very few records from Ireland.

Global distribution

Its distribution ranges from Norway to west Africa and the Mediterranean.


Lives in muddy sand or fine gravel, in crevices of dead oyster valves, in the burrows of the sipunculid Golfingia, or associated with the brittlestar Amphiura brachiata.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Very small (about 3 mm long).
  • Slightly oval in shape.
  • Light brown periostracum.
  • Closely associated with the brittlestar Amphiura brachiata. The pallial line is wide.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Christensen, J.M., 1980. Seashells. Bivalves of the British and Northern European Seas. Revised and adapted by Peter S. Dance. Hamondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd.

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line]

  5. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  6. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.

  7. Tebble, N., 1966. British Bivalve Seashells. A Handbook for Identification, 2nd ed. Edinburgh: British Museum (Natural History), Her Majesty's Stationary Office.


This review can be cited as:

Carter, M.C. 2008. Kurtiella bidentata A bivalve mollusc. 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. [cited 14-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 17/04/2008