Tellina (Angulus) modesta (Carpenter, 1864)

Common name(s): Modest tellina

Synonyms:  Tellina buttoni
Phylum Mollusca
 Class Bivalvia
  Subclass Heterodonta
   Order Veneroida
    Family Tellinidae
Tellina modesta from sandy mud on Guemes Channel, Anacortes, WA
(Photo by: Dave Cowles August 2005)
Description:  Like all members of family Tellinidae, this clam has a rounded shell with neither valve very flat nor very inflated, and the anterior and posterior ends are shaped differently.  There are two adductor muscle scars of similar size on each valve.  The umbones are near the middle of the dorsal side.  It has no radial ribs.  The hinge has a true hinge plate with two cardinal teeth on both valves.  The hinge ligament is mostly external.  The valves have a pallial sinus and a continuous pallial line.  The valves gape only slightly, if at all, at the posterior end.  Tellina modesta has lateral teeth along with cardinal teeth on the hinge plate, it is about twice as long as high, and grows to about 2 cm long.  There is a ridge just behind the scar of the anterior adductor muscle on both valves.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:  Some other Tellinas are very small and about as high as long. Tellina bodegensis grows to about 5 cm and does not have the ridge behind the anterior adductor muscle scar.

Geographical Range:  Vancouver Island to lower California

Depth Range:


Biology/Natural History:  Surf scoters eat Tellina.

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Dichotomous Keys:
  Kozloff 1987, 1996
  Scott and Blake, 1998
  Smith and Carlton, 1975

General References:
  Johnson and Snook, 1955

Scientific Articles:
Maurer, D., 1967.  Mode of feeding and diet, and synthesis of studies on marine pelecypods from Tomales Bay, California.  Veliger 10: 72-76 (as T. buttoni)

Web sites:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

In this view one can see the two cardinal teeth on each hinge, the lateral tooth next to it on the upper (right) valve, and the ridge behind the scar of the adductor muscle.
Total length of the shell is 1.6 cm.
Photo by Dave Cowles, August 2005

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005):  Created original page