Furrowed nut clam (Nucula sulcata)

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



Nucula sulcata has a solid, inequilateral shell. Large specimes can measure up to 1.9 cm in length. The heart shaped lunule is irregular. There are fine radiating ribs and concentric lines that make the surface of the shell finely decussate (criss-crossed). There are irregular transverse corrugations from the anterior hinge area to the umbo. The inside of the free margin is also crenulated.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Nucula sulcata occurs predominantly on the west coasts of the British Isles. It has been recorded from the Shetland Islands, off the south coast of England, the west coast of Ireland, the Isle of Man and throughout the Hebrides.

Global distribution

Nucula sulcata is distributed from Norway, the Lofoten Islands south to the Iberian Peninsula, into the Mediterranean and along the Atlantic coast of Morocco and Senegal, Guinea and Angola (Tebble, 1976).


Nucula sulcata can be found in mud, muddy sand or clay sediments.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • The periostracum of Nucula sulcata is a light olive yellow colour with irregular red patches.
  • There are 22-29 anterior teeth and 12-14 posterior teeth on the hinge plate.
  • The surface of the periostracum has a matt (dull) appearance.

Additional information

Nucula sulcata may be confused with Nucula nitidosa, however Nucula sulcata is typically larger with a anterior hinge line that is often corrugated.

Listed by

- none -


  1. Allen, J.A. 1954. A comparative study of British species of Nucula and Nuculana. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 33, 457-472.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.]

  5. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  6. Rumohr, H. & Kujawski, T., 2000. The impact of trawl fishery on the epifauna of the southern North Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57, 1389-1394.

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


  1. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) data for Great Britain and Ireland - restricted access. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/4bsawx accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, 2018. Mollusc (marine) records for Great Britain and Ireland. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/aurwcz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  3. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

  4. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  5. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  6. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  7. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-18


This review can be cited as:

Sabatini, M. 2004. Nucula sulcata Furrowed nut clam. 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 18-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2028

Last Updated: 22/03/2004