BIOTIC Species Information for Pecten maximus
Researched byCharlotte Marshall & Emily Wilson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byAndy Beaumont
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandRecorded around most coasts of Britain and Ireland, with only scattered records from the east coast of Great Britain.
Global distributionPecten maximus occurs along the European Atlantic coast from northern Norway, south to the Iberian peninsula and has also been reported off West Africa, the Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth range10-110 m
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationFactors affecting distribution

Water flow and wave exposure
Pecten maximus tend to be most abundant just inside or just away from areas of strong currents (Mason, 1983). Gibson (1956) found that scallops living in sheltered areas grew faster than those on wave exposed beds and suggested that this was because the feeding apparatus become overwhelmed by particulate matter in the highly wave exposed areas. It is also possible that the delicate processes of larval settlement and byssal attachment would be disturbed in strong currents (Brand, 1991).

The areas with highest abundance and the fastest growth rates of scallops are usually in areas with little mud (Brand, 1991). Gruffydd (1974) found that the maximum shell size of Pecten maximus from the north Irish Sea was significantly negatively correlated with increasing mud content in the sediment.

Aggregation and population subdivision
Adult scallops have a limited mobility and rely on the dispersal of larvae in terms of geographic distribution (Brand, 1991). The extent of this distribution will in turn be affected by factors including local hydrographic regimes and the survival of larvae. Consequently, all scallops have an aggregated distribution within their geographic range and the major fishing grounds are generally widely separated so much so that respective environmental conditions produce marked differences in population parameters (Brand, 1991).

However, in terms of genetic differences, two principle genetic population studies of Pecten maximus (Beaumont et al., 1993; Wilding et al., 1998) have failed to identify any evidence of sub-population structure (Beaumont , 2005). Wilding et al. (1999) found that the population of Pecten maximus from Mulroy Bay was more similar to Pecten jacobaeus than it was to other Pecten maximus populations, implying that this population is genetically distinct from others. This genetic isolation is thought to arise as a result of the enclosed nature of Mulroy Bay which probably means that the population is sustained through self-recruitment (Beaumont, 2005).

Substratum preferencesCoarse clean sand
Muddy sand
Sandy mud
Gravel / shingle
Fine clean sand
Physiographic preferencesOffshore seabed
Enclosed coast / Embayment
Open coast
Biological zoneLower Infralittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Wave exposureExposed
Very Sheltered
Extremely Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowModerately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Ansell et al., 1991, Mason, 1983, Gibson, 1956, Tebble, 1976, Brand, 1991, Ansell et al., 1991, Beaumont & Zouros, 1991, Gruffydd, 1974, Picton & Costello, 1998, JNCC, 1999, NBN, 2002, Beaumont, 2005, Wilding et al., 1998, Wilding et al., 1999,
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