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Limatula strangei (G.B Sowerby II, 1872)

Description: Shape nearly equilateral, auricles equal. Dorsal margin sloping on both sides of umbo, umbo central, elevated. Anterior and posterior margins weakly curved, ventral margin smoothly rounded. Hinge line straight, with prominent auricles at either end, without teeth; ligament attached in triangular ligament pit above hinge line with semicircular resilifer projecting below hinge line. Interior white, exterior radial ribs showing through, margin crenulate. Exterior with 16-22 non-divaricating, not scaled radial ribs crossed by weaker concentric growth ridges; radials restricted to middle of shell, sides with only concentric growth ridges. Periostracum thin, fawn. Shell colour white.

Size: Up to 40 mm in height.

Distribution: In Australia, Moreton Bay, Qld, southwards and around southern Australia, to Bunbury, WA, including Tas.

Habitat: Lives intertidally on rocky shores, and subtidally down to about 200 m. Empty shells are common in beach washup. This species lives unattached; it swims by rapidly opening and closing the valves, assisted by movement of the tentacles (Fig. 2).

Comparison: This species is distinguished from Lima nimbifer by the equilateral shell shape. The similar-looking New Zealand taxon was once regarded as this species, but is now regarded as a separate species, Limatula maoria Finlay, 1927.

Fig. 1: Port Jackson, Sydney Harbour, NSW (C.74100)

Fig. 2: Fingal Bay, Port Stephens, NSW (C.126253). Photo Heather McLennan, Australian Museum


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