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7829-1.jpg (556085 bytes)



Malleus albus Lamarck, 1819

Description: Shape hammer-like, elongate, contorted, with long anterior and posterior ears. Hinge with a triangular ligamental area divided by a triangular pit with semicircular chondrophore below. Interior nacreous dorsally surrounded by wide non-nacreous zone that is wider at ventral margin. Muscle scar purple-black. Exterior surface irregular, usually eroded. Shell colour dirty white, with dark muscle scar.

Size: Up to 200 mm in height.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. In Australia, from south-western WA around northern Australia, to Sydney, NSW, and rarely to southern NSW.

Habitat: Lives on mud flats or sand flats down to 10 m depth, partly buried, anchored by the byssus when juvenile and wedged by the anterior and posterior wings of the shell when adult.

Comparison: Malleus malleus (Linnaeus, 1758) is a similar tropical species that does not occur in NSW. It is black in colour internally and externally.

Synonymy: Malleus novelesianus Iredale, 1931 is a synonym, based on specimens from Broken Bay, NSW.

Fig. 1: 7829-1 Pittwater, Broken Bay, NSW (C.114944)


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