Channeled Surf Clam
Raeta plicatella Lamarck, 1818
The Channeled Surf Clam, also known as the Channeled Duck Clam, is a decidedly delicate, pure whire bivalve. The adult shell may reach a length of three inches.
There are prominent, wide, evenly-spaced concentric channels, or ridges, on the shell's surface. (The sculpture is also visible on the insides of the valve halves.) The posterior slope of the shell narrows from the beak to the margin of the shell. The beaks (or umbones) are high, and directed backward. Like the exterior of the shell, the inner surfaces are snowy-white. The hinge has a large spoon-shaped depression for an inner ligament (cartilage) which connects the two halves. The valve halves gape slightly at the ends.
Finding in undamaged specimen (or even one valve) on the beach is not easy because the clam shell is so thin and breakable. The living clam resides in sandy mud in fairly shallow waters from coastal North Carolina to Texas; and the West Indies.
An earlier, common alternate name for the “Channeled Duck” (Raeta plicatella) was “hat shell.” An earlier Latin name for the species was Anatina canaliculata, in the genera Labiosa Moller, 1832.