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Family  Pteriidae

Wing Oysters




This is a numerically small family now containing only the genera Pteria (the Wing Oysters) and Pterelectroma (the Butterfly Shells). Previously, the genus Pinctada (the true Pearl Oysters) was grouped in this family, but it has now been moved to Margaritidae where it constitutes a family of its own.

There are about 25 species of Wing Oysters worldwide, mainly occurring in the tropical Indo-West Pacific Ocean, with a few in the tropical Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans. They live in the intertidal or shallow subtidal, attached by a byssus to solid objects such as rocks, corals and mangrove roots.

Only two species of this now restricted family occur in NSW. They are both tropical species that extend into the north of the state, only occasionally reaching as far south as Sydney.

Family Reference: Huberís Compendium of Bivalves illustrates the species worldwide.

Coverage: The two species that reach into NSW are illustrated here.

Identification Notes: Species are readily placed in this family because of the winged shell shape.


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