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Dendostrea folium (Linnaeus, 1758)     Leaf Oyster

Description: Shape variable, usually elongate-ovate. Valves shallow to moderately inflated, radially folded with 2 to 8, either weak or sharp radial folds. Hinge line short. Interior white with purple of black patches sometimes covering most of the interior; muscle scar large, well defined. Exterior of upper valve with rounded or V-shaped radial folds; lower valve irregularly crumpled or folded with small finger-like claspers for attachment to substrate. Shell pale brown to bronze-red, sometimes tinged with purple.

Size: Up to 100 mm in length.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. In Australia, south-western WA, around northern Australia, as far south as Terrigal, NSW.

Habitat: Lives adhering to solid surface or clinging to coral branches, mangrove sticks, or other elongate material intertidally and subtidally. Regularly discovered attached to floating ropes and drift nets. When attached to such elongate items, the lower valve develops small extensions like fingers to clasp the substrate item.

Synonymy: This species varies in shape depending on the substrate on which it lives. Iredale named a nearly circular form with rounded radials from the Great Barrier Reef as Ostrea bresia Iredale 1939.

Remarks: The shape of the shell and the extent of the V-shaped folds depends on the habitat in which the shell lives. When attached to a solid surface the shells take up the shape of the surface. When attached to a coral branch or a mangrove stick the valves are inflated and both valves have radial folds.

Fig. 1: Off Port Stephens, NSW. Attached to rope of lobster pot. (C.105107)


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