The Little Dove Strawberry Cockle, Americardia columbella H.G. Lee & M. Huber, 2012, is a moderately rare species of the family Cardiidae found in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coasts of Southwest Florida. Its shell has a more triangular shape in relation to other local cockles, and the “pinched” aspect (caused by the presence of a posterior groove, or sulcus) sets it apart from its closest relatives in the genus Americardia. Dr. Harry G. Lee, from Jacksonville, Florida, a past National Shell Museum board member and frequent visitor to Sanibel, and Markus Huber from Switzerland named the species in 2012 in the Museum’s scientific journal The Nautilus to distinguish it from close relatives, which include another Western Atlantic species, Americardia media (Linnaeus, 1758), this latter found along Florida’s east coast.
Photos show the Little Dove Strawberry Cockle from Sanibel. Photos by José H. Leal.