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  • José H. Leal

Shell of the Week: The Spathate Scallop

Cryptopecten phrygium (Dall, 1886) lives off the Eastern Seaboard of the US, from Massachusetts to Florida, from 42°N to 18°N, at depths between 90 to 190 m (300 to 620 ft). Its distribution range includes the Gulf of Mexico, where it is relatively common at those depths. The shell color is very variable in this species, including variations of light-gray and magenta patterns. The sculpture consists of 14–20 radial ribs, which are in turn superimposed by narrower riblets, which are also present in the interspaces between larger ribs. When originally naming the species, William Healey Dall alluded to the elaborate nature of the shell sculpture, with the shell margin of well-preserved specimens showing a fimbriated pattern, with a fringe of tiny fingerlike projections that correspond to the end of the riblets.

The Spathate Scallop, Cryptopecten phrygium, from off Egmont Key, Gulf of Mexico, Florida. Illustration by Chris Kovaz.
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