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  • José H. Leal

Shell of the Week: The Atlantic Jewel Box

Pseudochama cristella (Lamarck, 1819) is a bivalve that lives permanently attached to hard surfaces such as other shells, coral rock, and even lost boat lines. The species may grow to 75 mm (about 3 inches), but is usually much smaller locally. The shell sculpture is variable, usually variations around the theme of 20–30 scaly radial ribs. The Atlantic Jewel Box is also known as the Left-handed Jewel Box; members of the jewel-box genus Chama are attached by their left valve, but species of Pseudochama are cemented by their right valve. When compared to, say, the Leafy Jewel Box, Chama macerophylla, the Atlantic Jewel Box looks like its mirror image!

The Atlantic Jewel Box, Pseudochama cristella, from Sanibel. Photos by José H. Leal.


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