Rayed Trough Shell: A single Rayed Trough Shell (Mactra stultorum (L) with shell gaping and siphons protruding on the wet sand at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (1)

The Rayed Trough Shell – Mactra stultorum (Linnaeus) – is a bivalved mollusc that is commonly found on sandy beaches, or at least the empty shells are frequently found. However, recently at Rhossili beach  great numbers of this mollusc washed ashore with the animal still inside the shell. Unfortunately, most were dead or dying. Some unknown event had stirred up the seabed off shore and loosened them from the sediments before landing them on the beach. They lay where they had been naturally deposited: singly, in pairs, trios, quartets, quintets, or groups of a dozen or more. Overall, probably hundreds of thousands of Rayed Trough Shells covered the strandline as far as the eye could see.

This species has a broadly triangular, thin and brittle shell which is white, maybe with a hint of purple, growing up to 50 mm in length. The sides of the shell are smoothly curving. Light brown rays of varying width and depth of colour radiate from the umbones. Rayed Trough Shells live in clean sand of the lower shore down to the shallow sublittoral. They are widespread and abundant on most of the British coastline.

Rayed Trough Shells: Two Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) washed up together on the wet sand at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (2)

Rayed Trough Shells: A trio of Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) washed up together on the wet sand at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (3)

Mactra stultorum (l.): A group of four Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) washed up together on the wet sand at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (4)

Five seashells: A group of five Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) washed up together on the wet sand at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (5)

Seashells on sand: A circular arrangement of Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) with a few razor shells (Pharus legumen L.) gathered from the wet sandy strandline at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (6)

Rayed Trough Shells: A close-up view of lots of Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) gathered together from the wet sandy strandline at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (7)

Scattered seashells on the sand: A dozen or so (18) Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) scattered across the wet sandy strandline at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (8)

Rhossili seashells: Lots of Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) scattered across the wet sandy strandline at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (9)

Rhossili seashells: Dozens of Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) scattered across the wet sandy strandline at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (10)

Sandy beach strandline with seashells: Thousands of Rayed Trough Shells (Mactra stultorum (L) scattered across the wet sandy strandline at Rhossili Bay, Gower, West Glamorgan, UK (11)

Rayed Trough Shell with mussel shell on sand: Empty Rayed Trough Shell, Mactra stultorum (L.), on the sandy beach at Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales, UK, with mussel shell (12)

 Revision of a post first published 17 April 2010

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

5 Replies to “Rayed Trough Shells at Rhossili”

  1. What a beautiful sight Jessica. Sad that so many were dying though. The way they’re arranged in your photos, it seems like they’re conversing with one another… saying last words and final goodbyes.

    Like

  2. Thank you, Amy Lynn. It is indeed a sad sight when so many beautiful seashore creatures are washed ashore in a mass death.

    Like

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