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Cucullaea labiata ([Lightfoot], 1786)

Description: Shell solid, heavy, inflated, inequilateral, not equivalve; left valve larger, slightly overlapping right valve. Shape rectangular, umbones almost central, elevated, widely separated. Posterior truncated, margin almost straight, sharply angled ventrally; ventral and anterior margins gently convex. Hinge line straight, many fine vertical teeth centrally, 2 or 3 large, horizontally-directed teeth at ends. Ligament external. Interior white or fawn, margin finely crenulated, muscle scars well defined, posterior scar edged with a strong shelf. Exterior sculpture of fine radial ribs crossed by concentric ribs of similar strength. Periostracum thick, dark brown. Shell colour white with zigzag brown lines, in life obscured by periostracum.

Size: Up to 120 mm in length.

Distribution: Indo-west Pacific. In Australia, from Carnarvon, WA, northwards and around northern Australia, to NSW. In NSW, the southern limit of living specimens, as evidenced by presence of periostracum, is off Evans Head. Specimens without periostracum, probably fossil, have been found as far south as Shoalhaven Bight (off Nowra), NSW.

Habitat: Subtidal, down to at least 200 m, burrowing in sand.

Fig. 1: Off Evans Head, NSW, in 25 fathoms (44 m) (C.74079)



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