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Arctica islandica

(Linnaeus, 1767)

David Kipling Busy day for molluscs in the news:

Richard Lord Unfortunate photo with story. These clams aren't very old!

David Kipling Hey, at least they're bivalves! This is the Metro ...

Richard Lord Hope they tasted good

David Kipling I'm guessing a 507 year old Arctica might be a tad chewy. Certainly the adductor muscle is incredibly strong, making old ones essentially impossible to open without serious toolage!

Bernard Picton Lost opportunity here again. The so-called scientists should have explained that they used to be very common and a major food source for Cod. That’s why they grow such thick shells. The ones which escape early predation live a long time, continuously reproducing and feeding the next lot of Cod. Until the scallop boat comes along...

David Kipling That would require ver 2.0 of the argument. At the moment we're at the "if you eat them all today, you'll have no sweeties left for tomorrow" stage I fear. Krill stir-fry anyone?

Bernard Picton Is ver 2.0 Ecosystem Services?

Bernard Picton Joe Breen articulated the Cod food story very well the other day at the Northern Ireland Marine Stakeholder meeting, with an explanation of why Arctica islandica communities need to be protected.

David Kipling I'd prefer "an ecosystem approach" as opposed to the 'ecosystem services' phrase. I'm a bit allergic to the implications of ES, which suggests that ecosystem management is a form of glorified farming with the sole point being human benefit.

Bernard Picton But if you interpret it correctly it is to ensure no loss of any part of any ecosystem because we can't know what the possible knock on effect of that loss might be.

Bernard Picton I managed to talk to the BBC science correspondent. Hoping she will put a different slant on it tomorrow.

David Kipling But it's *why* we want to ensure no loss of any part of it that's critical … the ES approach suggests that answer is "… to avoid problems to humans, such as reduced provisioning or regulating...".

Bernard Picton My why is "because the products of 4.5 billion years of planetary evolution are beautiful"

David Kipling You do have to appreciate something so well designed

Becky Hitchin Designed? Designed?

David Kipling On the earth for man's benefit. Currently called ecosystems services, but there's an almost identical text about the role of animals and plants to provide benefit to man in a slightly older book.

Dave Rolfe Yes, but that is a book of fairy tales.

Bernard Picton Fairy tales are often a way of conveying truth to simple minds. That's why we read them to our children.

Bernard Picton But I agree with David, it should say we have a responsibility to look after the animals instead of dominion over them. Lost in translation I expect.

David Kipling Dominion, that's the word I was looking for! Thanks Bernard.

Bernard Picton And Becky, Evolution is a designing force. There does not have to be a designer. Indeed, as Hitchens and others have argued, if there is then it is very cruel.

Becky Hitchin I agree with that!

Message posted on British Marine Mollusca on 14 Nov 2013
David Fenwick Snr Does anyone recognise the whelk in the images below, not a lot to go on I know but might be enough there. I was poking around Newlyn Harbour again today for more shells. Best find was a pair of valves of a 90mm Arctica islandica. 01.04.13. SW 46350 28580.

David Fenwick Snr Whelk shell approx. 110mm in length, 35mm max. width. Just to confirm, the pair of Arctica valves was a dead pair.

David Fenwick Snr Is Neptunea antiqua a possibility?

Becky Hitchin I only really know Kent Neptunea, but they don't have spiral-type banding like yours does

David Fenwick Snr What I'm going by is Neptunea antiqua on the following site, looks very similar indeed. http://www.idscaro.net/sci/01_coll/plates/gastro/pl_buccinidae_1.htm

Dave Rolfe I can't think of anything else it could be from there David, unless it is a worked-out fossil species? Here is one of mine for comparison, it does bear a similarity; http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=219972058022200&set=a.216455205040552.60815.100000282230847&type=3&theater

Dave Rolfe It is a shame yours is so worn, makes identification that little bit more 'interesting' ;)

David Fenwick Snr Yes pity if wasn't whole and fresh like other shells I've found from the same small area, thought it worth collecting nether the less. Because of the more southern location found I guess the best thing to do is send it away for verification. Question is to who. There are a number of old 19th century Cornish records from Falmouth and Helford, by Cocks, and from trawls, would seem to be a similar record if verified. I think what may be happening is that low numbers of discards, chielfly Glycymeris, are being passed on for use as bait for pots or lines in one part of the harbour, the probable reason why the Neptunea has been found so damaged.

Dave Rolfe You could try the Conchological Society, they may have more insight. I know the aperture is totalled, but that siphonal canal looks a bit long to me. More like on a Colus.

David Fenwick Snr Other thing to rule out is a foreign species, finding a Giant clam at Marazion was a bit of a surprise. lol

Simon Taylor Looks like Neptunea antiqua to me David. I know the Newlyn trawlers bring them up from time to time.

David Fenwick Snr Thanks Simon, just realised tonight that I have a 160mm specimen of N. antiqua. It was purchased from a car boot sale in Camborne a couple years ago, it has been on the edge of the bath as an ornament ever since. Always thought it might be a UK shell given the worm deposits on it. Very likely another Cornish N. antiqua, much better condition though.

Message posted on British Marine Mollusca on 01 Apr 2013
Rudolf Svensen From yesterdays dive in Lysefjord, Norway. Still only 5 degrees centigrade in the water, but nice dive and lots of "stuff". Butterfish (Pholis gunnellus) in an Icelandic Cyprine (Arctica islandica). Nikon D300 in Subal housing. Subtrnic flashes, 60 mm Micro Nikkor, manual settings, f40, ISO 100, 1/80

Message posted on Underwater Macro Photographers on 03 May 2012
Erling Svensen Do anybody knows this Cliona and confirm the specie? From South West Norway, 30 meters deept.

Erling Svensen thanks, Dawn Watson

David Kipling There seem to be quite a lot of Cliona species worldwide, many (?all) boring. C. celata is unusual in forming that massive form but that doesn't help here!

David Kipling Erling, is this boring out of rock, or a shell? And how big are those discs?

Erling Svensen They are boring out from a Arctica islandica. The discs are aprox. 3 millimeter across

David Kipling Cliona lobata bores in just shells, whereas celata bores shells and rock. However it sounds too big for lobata, which is supposed to have exhalent papillae 1.6mm max across. Cliona celata thus sounds best bet.

David Kipling http://species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=sponges&id=185

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 07 Aug 2012
Yvonne Beale You may enjoy having a look at photo's I took (with permission) at the local Stromness Museum. I would appreciate any comments and extra names and things that folk could add for the later photo's and just to see what you thought of the shell display. I had gone to see the Robert Rendall collection, an Orcadian natural historian of days gone by, but hadn't realized that was only by appointment so I've that to do yet and they've been given an entire suitcase collection to keep recently as well so perhaps more to come yet.

Dave Rolfe I wish they would give Latin names as well. Also Macoma 'Boltica' is the Baltic Tellin, Macoma balthica. The display is O.K. but a bit crowded in places.

Yvonne Beale The display was recently redone and I think a few little errors must have slipped in. I didn't like to go with my list of corrections when I'm quite new to the shell hobby but I will keep a little note and pass it in quietly once I get a bit better known there I think. I felt the same about the lack of the latin names, they are so important.

George Brown I agree with you both regarding the value of Latin names even if they do change at frustratingly frequent intervals. Bring their attention to this site: http://naturalhistory.museumwales.ac.uk/britishbivalves/home.php?

Ian Smith Yvonne welcome to the group, you live in one of the best places in Britain for molluscs; I hope you'll look at the live ones too. I agree that Greek/Latin scientific names ought to be used, especially by a museum. As George says, they are changing a lot with research. You can check the currency of a name by typing it into http://www.marinespecies.org/ If it's not "accepted" it will tell you so in red and give you the up-to-date name. I know how proud Orcadians are of their Scandinavian heritage, so it seems a great shame that an Orcadian museum uses English names that are of minimal use. I know Robert Rendall did too in his "Mollusca Orcadensia" list, but he did take interest in the traditional names of Scandinavian and Scottish origin. It would be so much more appropriate for Stromness museum to use the Scientific and Orcadian names and to ditch the English. Some of the names like Grottie buckie, Cattie buckie and Ku-shell (kúskjel in Norwegian, pronounced the same) I expect you know. You can find more in Robert Rendall's delightful "Orkney Shore", though he isn't clear for non-Orcadians about which is which. I traced some in the "Orkney Norn". Robert also mentioned the farm games played with shells. I guess with modern toys they are almost forgotten. It would be a great museum display to show a child's farmyard made of beach pebbles with the appropriate animals labelled 0;Arctica islandica / Ku-shell - ku/cow, Mytilus /kraenoe- kraa/crow, Mya/ smurslin - /grice/pig, Pecten/Chlamys/Gimmer shell - gimmer/sheep, Buccinum - cattie buckie/cat, Littorina/neb - dog,) and of course Trivia/ Grottie buckie- groat/ grain of corn. The shell animal associations were similar to those used in Norway until recently. There is an article in the Norwegian magazine Hjemmet 31 Dec 1925 that gives the Norwegian names - perhaps one of our Norwegian members could trace a copy in a museum archive?? When you get to see Robert's collection note that there are no Ensis ensis specimens. Alan Skene (marine recorder for Orkney in the 1970s when I lived in the Hope) told me that Robert realised his mistake after the publication of Mollusca Orcadensia and transferred all the records to Ensis arcuatus, the most frequently found and eaten spoot, though another spoot, Ensis siliqua, lives in Orkney too. Unfortunately Robert's mistake was repeated by R.J. Berry (with several others of his own) in his New Naturalist volume " The Natural History of Orkney" that sells second hand for the ridiculous price of £1500 hardback (I've not missed the decimal point!) There are some E. ensis records on NBN for Orkney, but I'd like to see a specimen or photo to support them. Best wishes and check my Orcadian in case I've made a slip.

Yvonne Beale Thank you very much for the welcome, links and all the interesting comments. I haven't read the book by Robert Rendall yet and I know that Natural History book is like gold-dust, crazy. I loved being on the beach when I was younger and had a bit of a red face regarding local names vs other when I moved away to study. A Glaswegian friend laughed his head off when I told him we all used to pick whelks for pin money (turns out that means picking your nose elsewhere!) but whelks here was winkles elsewhere. An early lesson in the value of latin names ;-) I haven't done any scuba or snorkelling but I am hoping to get a shot of that yet. There are some really good facebook groups on here for those hobbies and the photo's people share are amazing. I haven't learnt the secret to finding spoots apart from much backward walking but I'll find a teacher yet. I'm hoping to get out to Stronsay for a bit of shell hunting next year as I'm after a canoe shell and we've just had a bit of stormy weather that I'm hoping will have shaken things up a bit. Ian Smith, are there any beaches that you'd particularly recommend for a bit of shell hunting here in Orkney? I'm working my way around and getting my eye in for the sorts of places that have the shells.

Message posted on British Marine Mollusca on 17 Sep 2013
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Mollusca (Phylum)
    Bivalvia (Class)
      Heterodonta (Subclass)
        Euheterodonta (Infraclass)
          Veneroida (Order)
            Arcticoidea (Superfamily)
              Arcticidae (Family)
                Arctica (Genus)
                  Arctica islandica (Species)
Associated Species