Chione cancellata Linnaeus, 1767
A sturdy and distinctive little clam shell, the Cross-Barred Venus is marked by radiating and concentric lines, giving it a miniature lattice-work appearance. The slightly inflated shell is whitish often with often brown markings. On the inside of the shell there is a central white area where the mantle of the mollusk was attached, and on each side of the mantle area there are two somewhat round areas to which were attached the adductor muscles. Offtimes the inner surface of the shell also displays a pretty purple color. On the hinge of the shell there are two “teeth.” The outer edge of the shell is finely ridged.
The clam feeds by filtering plankton from the seawater, using a siphon system to draw water over a mucus collecting net.
The preferred habitat of the Cross-Barred Venus is in the sand of eelgrass beds.
Incidentally, living Cross-Barred Venus clams are good human food. Collect enough of them, and you can make a tasty chowder. (The clams are seldom as large as 2 inches across.)
The beachcomber or shell collector will enjoy finding the shell halves washed ashore anywhere from North Carolina to the West Indies.
An alternate name for the attractive mollusk is the Dog Clam; why, I do not know.