A living cockle with spines on the shell from Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (1)

I found this spikey-shelled cockle on the beach at Weymouth. The tide was out and had left a series of shallow sandy ripples. Bait diggers had created some deep holes and I think that was how the cockle came to be lying on the surface in a ripple valley. It was sucking in water and periodically squirting it out.

I am not sure of its identity. It looks a lot like the Spiny Cockles (Acanthocardia aculeata) I find on Gower beaches but its overall appearance, size, and the sharpness of the spines make me think it is either a Prickly (Acanthocardia echinata) or a Rough Cockle (Acanthocardia tuberculata). Because it was alive and I returned it to the sediments, I could not examine the teeth in the hinge area or the inside of the shell, which would have provided vital clues. I’ll have to look out for empty Acanthocardia shells on the beach when I next visit Weymouth.

Click here for more pictures and information about Spiny Cockles in Jessica’s Nature Blog.

Another view of a living cockle with spines on the shell from Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (2)

A different view of a living cockle with spines on the shell from Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (3)

Another aspect of a living cockle with spines on the shell from Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (4)

Detail of the ribs and spines on an undetermined species of cockle shell found at Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (5)

Detail of the ornamentation on an undetermined species of cockle shell found at Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (6)

Detail of the umbones and external hinge area of an undetermined species of cockle shell found at Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (7)

Detail of an undetermined species of cockle shell found at Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (8)

Detail of the crenellated valve margins of an undetermined species of cockle shell found at Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (9)

A living cockle with spiny shell lying on wet sand ripples at Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (10)

View of Weymouth Beach at low tide showing wet sand ripples where the spikey-shelled cockle was found alive, Dorset, UK, part of the Jurassic Coast (11) 

Revision of a post first published 1 February 2010

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2011

All Rights Reserved

2 Replies to “A spikey cockle at Weymouth”

  1. I love the spiny cockles. Have you found a live one washed up and watched it try to rebury itself with that amazing carmine red foot?

    Like

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