Shell of the Week: The Calico Clam
Megapitaria maculata (Linnaeus, 1758) is one of the most attractive local bivalves. Its shell may grow to almost 70 mm (about 2.8 inches). The glossy, translucent periostracum (outer shell layer) is superimposed on a pattern of very fine growth lines. The shells bear variations on a pattern of brown-and-tan checkerboard-like markings. The Calico Clam is a member of the super-speciose (with many species) family of Venus clams, the Veneridae, which includes at least 20 species in the area of Sanibel and Captiva.