The Alternate Tellin
With about 12 local species, the Tellinidae is one of the most diverse families of shallow-water marine bivalves in SW Florida. Last week we discussed the Candystick Tellin, Scissula similis (J. Sowerby, 1806). This week the featured species is one of its cousins, the locally common Alternate Tellin, Eurytellina alternata (Say, 1822). This species may reach between two and three inches in length, and displays the compressed shape typical of the family. The external shell sculpture consists of fine commarginal (“concentric”) thread-like lines. Its color is pale yellow or whitish-yellow, with a stronger yellow inner shell surface. The Alternate Tellin is largely restricted to muddy or muddy-sandy bottom areas and protected bays, where it burrows deep, lying “flat” in the substrate.
The Alternate Tellin, Eurytellina alternata, from Sanibel. Photo by José H. Leal.