The Cockle (Cerastoderma edule) is a small marine (saltwater) bivalve mollusc. It is also called a Clam, but it is not a true clam (a true clam does not live near the bottom of the ocean).
The Cockle has a white-creamy-yellowish-brown oval-shaped shell, called a mantle, with bilateral symmetry – its two valves are the same – connected by two hinge-type adductor muscles that enable it to open and close. The mantle has many slight ridges, called ribs. It has a foot which helps it to bury itself in the ocean floor.
It measures about 6 centimetres (2.5 inches) in length.
The Cockle is native to the oceans of the Northern Hemisphere, in the northern and eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Iceland in Europe to Senegal in west Africa. It prefers sandy, sheltered beaches, tidal flats, and estuaries, where it can bury itself in the sand to avoid predators. It is coastal, preferring shallow water.
It feeds on plankton in the sea water. It is a filter feeder, which means that it strains water by opening its shell, eating only edible matter. Water is inhaled through an inhalant siphon and exhaled through an exhalant siphon.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM