Sunray Venus (Macrocallista nimbosa Lightfoot, 1786)

Sunray Venus
Macrocallista nimbosa Lightfoot, 1786

Sunray Venus:
The Non-Pastel Sunburst

By Patricia B. Mitchell.

The Sunray Venus clam lives close to shore, up to a depth of 25ft. Storms can wash in large numbers of this long-valved, compressed shell.

The lovely shell is fairly thick, smooth, and shiny, though there are very fine striations on the surface. The perioscracum is thin. The brown, pinkish-gray, golden-tan, or lavender exterior is beautified with bands of darker colors which radiate from the beak (umbo) to the margin (periphery). The shell fades quicky from sun exposure, but a fresh one is a glossy canvas depicting a dramatic sunburst. The interior of Macrocallista nimbosa is white (or salmon-colored when the specimen is fresh).

The shell may reach a length of 6 inches, and the clam inside can be used to create an excellent clam chowder.

The bivalve may be found on beaches from North Carolina, over to Texas, and down to Brazil.


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