Shellfish Dictionary

Blue and California Mussels

Blue (Mytilus edulis) and California (Mytilus californianus) Mussels

Habitat: Inshore, found on rocks, gravel and other substrates
Size: : Blue up to 9 cm and California up to 25 cm
Description: Bluish-black oblong shells, anchored to substrates with brown byssal threads

Butter Clams

Butter Clams - (Saxidomus spp)

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada website

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in protected gravel, sandy beaches
Size: Up to 13 cm
Description: Oval to round, white coloured. Concentric rings on shell

Cockles

Cockles - (Clinacardium nuttallii)

Habitat: Intertidal zone, shallowly buried fine sand-gravel beds
Size: Up to 14 cm
Description: Also known as Nuttall’s, basket or heart cockles. Yellow-brown thick shells with strong radiating wavy ribs

Geoduck

Geoduck - (Panopea spp)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Deep intertidal zone, found in mud and sand at depth of 60 to 100 cm
Size: Shell size up to 25 cm
Description: Oblong gaping shell, rounded on one end, white colour with extended siphon

Horse Clams

Horse (or Gaper) Clams- (Tresus spp)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found deep, 30 to 40 cm in mud, gravel, and sand
Size: Up to 20 cm
Description: Oval white coloured with brown and black patches worn off shell. Concentric rings on shell

Littleneck and Manila Clams

Littleneck(Protothaca spp) and Manila (Venerupis) Clams

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in gravel, mud, sand at depth of 5 to 15 cm
Size: Up to 9 cm
Description: Oval to round, variable colouration. Concentric rings on shell with radiating ridges

Pacific Oysters

Pacific Oysters - (Crassostrea gigas)

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada website

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in protected gravel, sandy beaches

Razor Clams

Razor Clams - (Siliqua spp)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in sandy beaches at depth of 15 cm
Size: Up to 15 cm
Description: Oblong shaped with brittle brown to olive coloured shell and extended siphon. Concentric rings on shell

Pink and Spiny Scallops

Pink and Spiny Scallops - (Chlamys spp)

Source: Fisheries and Oceans Canada website

Habitat: Low intertidal zone, found at depth (recreational divers)
Size: Up to 12.5 cm
Description: Radiating ribs from the hinge, with thin flattened shells, colour white to pink

Varnish (or Savory) Clams

Varnish (or Savory) Clams- (Nuttalia obscurata)

Source: Art Demsky, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat: Intertidal zone, found in protected gravel, sandy beaches
Size: Up to 7.5 cm
Description: Oval and flat, shiny brown and white coloured with purple interior shell colour. Concentric rings on shell

Weathervane Scallops

Weathervane Scallops- (Patinopecten caurinus)

Source: Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Habitat: Deep water in gravel, sandy beaches (recreational divers)
Size: Up to 20 cm
Description: Radiating ribs from the hinge, one side flat, the other bulging, colour brown to light orange/red