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

Rayed Artemis (Dosinia exoleta)

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



The shell is solid and almost circular in shape overall. White, yellow-ish, or light brown in colour with irregular rays, streaks, or blotches of darker brown or pinkish brown. Can grow up to 6 cm in length. The umbones are small but distinct with the contour of the shell concave on one side of the umbo and convex on the other. When closed the valves form a heartshaped lunule situated in front of the beaks and recognisable from the rest of the shell due to the change in sculpture which exhibits very fine radiating ridges.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common off the coasts of Britain and Ireland but there are no records from the south east coast of England.

Global distribution

Found around the UK and from Norway to the Mediterranean and West Africa.


This species burrows in muddy gravel or shell gravel on the lower shore to depths of about 100 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • The shell is almost circular in shape overall.
  • The shell surface is marked with very fine concentric ridges.
  • Can grow up to 6 cm in length.
  • White, yellow or light brown in colour with dark brown or pinkish brown irregular rays, streaks or blotches.

Additional information

This species is also known as the rayed Artemis and is very similar to the smooth Artemis Dosinia lupinus. The smooth Artemis has more concentric ridges than the rayed Artemis and as the name suggests, a smoother shell. Dosinia exoleta is slightly larger than Dosinia lupinusand the anterior margin of its shell is more arched.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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  1. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford 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. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  4. 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. 2005. Dosinia exoleta Rayed Artemis. 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 21-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 17/10/2005