Southwest Florida Shells

José H. Leal

Nodipecten fragosus

(Conrad, 1849)

Family Pectinidae

Northern Lion Paw

Shell size to 150 mm; the shell characterized by 9-12 large, coarse radial ribs that bear large nodules. Larger nodules sometimes hollow. A pattern of finer radial riblets is present on entire shell. Color maroon-red, but shells may be brighter red, orange, or yellow. A rare find. In the same way as the famous Junonia, Lion Paws are not uncommon in deeper water offshore, but perfect shells are almost impossible to find in local beaches. Small (juvenile) valves and fragments may be occasionally found on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. The species common name alludes to certain resemblance to a lion’s “hand,” and the qualifier “Northern” distinguishes the North American species from its tropical western Atlantic counterpart, the Southern Lion Paw, Nodipecten nodosus (Linnaeus, 1758). The complete shell in the main image was trawled by a fishing boat off Sanibel Island. (Supplementary illustration represents valves of a juvenile specimen.)

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