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  • José H. Leal

The Atlantic Giant Cockle


The Atlantic Giant Cockle, Dinocardium robustum (Lightfoot, 1786), is one of the largest shallow-water bivalves found in the Gulf of Mexico, reaching about 125 mm (6 inches). It is one among eight species of the family Cardiidae present along the shores of Southwest Florida. Its shell is characterized by smooth, rounded radial ribs, usually numbering between 30 and 40 in adult individuals. As it often happens with other species of the family Cardiidae, Atlantic Giant Cockles use their muscular feet to leap away, in pole-vault fashion, from attacking predators.


The photos of the live cockle in this feature were taken by Dr. José H. Leal during a recent low-tide beach walk at Bunche Beach, in Fort Myers. The cockle’s “L-shaped” foot, mottled with reddish-brown flecks, is visible on the top part of the photos. Photos show, from left: shell and two views of a live cockle at Bunche Beach, Fort Myers.

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