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Family  Pulvinitidae

Aeroplane Wing Shells




The Pulvinitidae is a numerically small family of rare, deep water bivalves known from only one living species, and about a dozen fossil species. The living species, Pulvinites exempla (Hedley, 1914), is only known from southern Australia and southern New Zealand, as detailed below for the species.

Pulvinites is a medium to large shell characterised by a foramen, or hole, through which the byssus protrudes. It was first reported from two specimens from south of Gabo Island and named by Charles Hedley in 1914. No further specimens were collected until 1981, when a fishing trawler pulled up an aeroplane wing from 406 m off Sydney, which had dozens of specimens attached.

Pulvinites has a multivincular ligament, as also occurs in the Isognomonidae and a foramen as also occurs in the Anomiidae. Tėmkin (2006) described the anatomy and shell morphology of the family based on the specimens from off Sydney.

Family Reference

The only living species was described by Tėmkin (2006).


The only known species is detailed here.

Identification Notes

Species are placed in the family by the presence of a multivincular ligament and byssal foramen.


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