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

Warty venus (Venus verrucosa)

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



Venus verrucosa is a bivalve mollusc with equally sized valves that can grow up to 7 cm. It is beige to brown in colour with a white internal surface. The warty venus is characterized by a series of 20 or more prominent concentric ridges intersected by radiating grooves resulting in wart-like spines. Also, the escutcheon, the depression behind the umbones that encompass the external ligament, is much wider and semi-eliptical on the left valve and marked with transverse brown stripes.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Most records are from the Shetland Isles and western Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Limited records on the east and south coast of England.

Global distribution



Venus verrucosa is found partly buried in sand and gravel substrata. It is most commonly found from the low intertidal down to about 100 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • A bivalve mollusc with equally sized valves that grows to a maximum of 7 cm.
  • Off-white to brown in colour, darkest at the outer edges.
  • 20 or more prominent radiating ridges intersected by grooves creating erect spines.
  • The escutcheon, covering the ligament, is much wider in the left valve and is marked with brown stripes.
  • The internal surface is white in colour.
  • Each valve has three cardinal teeth positioned below the umbo.

Additional information

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Listed by

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Further information sources

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  1. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995a. The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe. Volume 2. Molluscs to Chordates. Oxford Science Publications. Oxford: Clarendon 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. MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network), 2005. SEArchable BEnthic Data (SEABED) Map [on-line]. Data Access Sub-programme, Marine Life Information Network for Britian and Ireland,

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

  7. 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.

  8. Tebble, N., 1976. 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:

Reeve, A. 2008. Venus verrucosa Warty venus. 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 15-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 17/04/2008