A collection of paired empty shells of the bivalved marine mollusc Pharus legumen (Linnaeus). This species is similar in appearance, and closely related, to the Razor Shells. Pharus belongs to the Family Solecurtidae whereas the Razors belong to the Family Solenidae. The valves of members of both bivalve families are elongated, narrow and brittle.
Pharus can grow up to 130mm long; the hinge and ligament is positioned about a third of the way along the length – in contrast to the Razor Clams (or Razor Shells) in which the hinge is located towards the very end of the long edge. In Pharus the two ends of the shells are rounded and the margins of the valves touch each other. In Razor Shells the ends of the valves are straight and gaping – with only the long edges touching each other.
This photograph shows a living specimen of Pharus legumen (Linnaeus) emerging from its burrow in the sand at low tide, with the paired siphons visible, at Rhossili Bay, Gower, South Wales.
This photograph shows the same living specimen of Pharus (as seen above – protruding from its burrow) temporarily lifted from its burrow to show the extended muscular ‘foot’ that it uses to pull itself down into the sand.
A natural accumulation of mostly Pharus legumen (Linnaeus) empty shells on the strandline at Rhossili.
Finally, an empty shell of the bivalved mollusc Pharus legumen (Linnaeus) lying on the wet sand of the beach.
Revision of a post first published 22 november 2009
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