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  • José H. Leal

The Mahogany Date Mussel

The Mahogany Date Mussel, Lithophaga bisulcata (d’Orbigny, 1853) is a rock-boring species, found in calcium carbonate substrates such as live or dead coral and other mollusk shells. The Date Mussel bores into the soft rock using special calcium carbonate-dissolving enzymes that are secreted from the anterior (blunt) end of the animal. The species typically has an elongate, thin-walled, cylindrical shell, which is tapered at its posterior end. A line divides the surface of each valve diagonally. The posterior half of the shell is encrusted with a relatively soft, porous calcium carbonate deposit. The illustration on the right shows a Mahogany Date Mussel that was boring into the top valve of a Jewel Box collected on Sanibel. [The species is currently treated in the genus Leiosolenus.]

Shell of the Mahogany Date Mussel, Lithophaga bisulcata, and, on the right, a Mahogany Date Mussel boring into the top valve of a Jewel Box.

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