Sentis Scallop (Caribachlamys sentis Reeve, 1853)
Sentis Scallop (Caribachlamys sentis Reeve, 1853)

A weathered Sentis Scallop
Caribachlamys sentis Reeve, 1853

Sentis Scallop:
Mismatched Ears

By Patricia B. Mitchell.

The most distinguishing feature of a Sentis Scallop is its extremely unequal ears. Each bivalve half has two ears — the front ears are 4-5 times larger than the hind ears. On the lower margin of the right front ear there is a distinct, angled byssal notch. The left front ear has a very shallow, rounded notch. The byssal notch provides space through which the threadlike filaments of the byssus can extend in order to attach or anchor the bivalve to some support.

Sometimes known as the Thorny Scallop (the Latin species name translates “thorn” or “bramble”), the surface of the radially ribbed shell has small prickly scales on it. The color of the shell varies from white, yellow, orange, red, scarlet, and purple, to mottled. The color often darkens closer to the outer edges of the shell. The interior of the shell is white, though sometimes the exterior darker colors show through to the inside. Both valves are usually colored alike. The margin of the shell is delicately scalloped. The bivalve is 1 to 1½ inches across.

The mollusk lives under rocks or attached to the underside of rocks in water 1-50ft deep from North Carolina to the Florida Keys and coastal northern South America.

All seas contain some species of scallops, including several large kinds which are “fished” commercially for the single, large, fused adductor muscle, which is excellent eating.


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