The Marine Life Information Network

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


Oval cockle (Parvicardium pinnulatum)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



A small, yellowish-white, obliquely oval cockle up to 13 mm in length. It has 24-26 radiating ribs, anteriorly bearing blunt scales and posteriorly bearing small spines. In the middle region the ribs are smooth. The concentric ridges are poorly developed. The right shell valve has two anterior teeth and one posterior lateral tooth whilst the left valve has only one anterior tooth and one posterior lateral tooth. The margins of the valves have deep crenulations with grooves on the inner surface extending a long way in from the margin towards the beak. The inner surface is a glossy white.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Occurs on British and Irish coasts where suitable muddy, sand and gravel substrata are present.

Global distribution

Occurs from Iceland and the coast of Murmansk south to the Iberian Peninsula, into the Mediterranean, and along the Atlantic coast of Morocco and the Canary Islands.


Parvicardium ovale burrows in sublittoral muddy sand and gravel substrata at depths of 3 to 100 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Small, up to 13 mm long.
  • Between 24-26 radiating ribs.
  • Anterior ribs have scales, posterior ribs have small spines.
  • Shell yellowish-white.
  • Inner surface of shell has grooves extending some way from the margin towards the beak.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by

- none -


  1. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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

  3. Tebble, N., 1976. British Bivalve Seashells. A Handbook for Identification, 2nd ed. Edinburgh: British Museum (Natural History), Her Majesty's Stationary Office.


  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) data for Great Britain and Ireland - restricted access. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  3. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) records for Great Britain and Ireland. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  4. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  5. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2023-03-30


This review can be cited as:

Ballerstedt, S. 2005. Parvicardium pinnulatum Oval cockle. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30-03-2023]. Available from:

Last Updated: 17/10/2005