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Pterelectroma physoides (Lamarck, 1819)

Description: Shell very lightweight, fragile; left valve convex, right valve flat to concave. Shape oblique, posterior wing well developed. Dorsal margin straight, umbo at anterior end. Interior slightly nacreous. Exterior smooth. Shell translucent white, with sparse dark brown lines, either radial, comarginal, or a combination of both, often with one central line stronger.

Size: Up to 20 mm in length.

Distribution: Indo-West Pacific. In Australia, from off Exmouth, WA, around northern Australia, to northern NSW, and very rarely as far south as Sydney. Old Australian literature (Allan, 1950) reported this species as common around Sydney with occurrence in Victoria, but more recent collecting does not support that as the present distribution.

Habitat: Lamprell & Healy (1998) gave the habitat as attached by a byssus to whip corals, corals, or marine growth to 20 m. Denis Riek (pers. comm., 2023) reported the species as living on the stinging hydroid Macrorhynchia philippiana in the Brunswick River, northern NSW.

Synonymy: In Australian literature this has been known as Electroma zebra (Reeve, 1857) or Pterelectroma zebra (Reeve, 1857). 

Fig. 1: Off Myora, Stradbroke Island, Qld (NTM P. 36523) Photo: MAGNT


Copyright Des Beechey 2024