False Tulip Mussel (Modiolus modiolus squamosus Beauperthuy, 1967)

False Tulip Mussel
Modiolus modiolus squamosus Beauperthuy, 1967

False Tulip Mussel:
A Ray of White

By Patricia B. Mitchell.

The False Tulip Mussel lives in shallow water attached to pier pilings, rocks, and other solid objects. The ones pictured here were found in wading-depth water, near a south Myrtle Beach fishing pier, evidently having been knocked loose from the wooden pier supports by strong waves.

The bivalve is 1-2 inches in length. Looking at one half of the bivalve you will see a whitish ray on the brown surface of the shell. This white area is diagonal, extending from the small, whitish beak (or “umbone”) of the shell. The interior of the shell ranges in color from white to purple.

The False Tulip Mussel may be found near West Indian shores, or in coastal seas from North Carolina to Texas.


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