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Gregariella splendida (Reeve, 1858)

Description: Shape equivalve, elongate, with umbones incurved and near anterior end. Dorsal margin curved; posterior and anterior ends broadly rounded. Margin strongly crenulate. Ligament short, curved. Interior nacreous with muscle scars obscure, exterior sculpture showing through. Exterior with anterior sculptural panel with concentric growth lines; middle panel radially ribbed; posterior panel with concentric growth lines; middle and posterior panels always covered with adhered sand grains. Colour of shell white. Periostracum dark brown with long hairs posteriorly.

Size: Up to 20 mm in length.

Distribution: The distribution is unclear. In Australia, the species is known from Alexandra Headland, near Caloundra, Qld, southwards to Crookhaven, NSW, plus one record from near Bunbury, south-western WA. It has also been reported from China and Japan (Qi, 2004, pl. 122C) but the description and figure leaves doubt of it being the same species.

Habitat: The species has been collected alive from clumps of ascidians at 16 m depth, but most specimens are known from kelp holdfasts cast up on beaches. It lives partly or completely buried in the substrate.

Remarks: The shell has sand grains attached to a variable degree. The figured specimen is the least covered specimen seen, with the anterior third showing the dark brown periostracum. But it is more usual for the shell to be completely, or almost completely, covered with sand grains and marine growth that obscures its outline

Fig. 1: Crookhaven, NSW (C.364862)

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