Valve of Ctenocardia pilbaraensis (Photo: Clay Bryce)

Pilbara Ctenocardia

Ctenocardia pilbaraensis

Ctenocardia pilbaraensis is a subtidal infaunal bivalve found exclusively inshore in the Pilbara area. Previously confused with C. fornicata but differs in smaller size, thicker shell, fewer ribs, crowded rib sculpture and less colorful shell interior.


It is medium sized (up to 28.5 mm length) and solid, quite quadrate or square with 32-38 well developed radial ribs with diversity of densely placed scale morphology on the ribs including some broader than the ribs, others tubular and spiny. Ornamentation easily worn off revealing glossy ribs underneath. Exterior white or cream with irregular brown or purple patches, interior white or pale pink with pink to purple spot near posterior margin.


Little is known about the relationship of this species to other members of the genus.


This species, like all cardiids, is shallowly infaunal and will reburrow if disturbed. It is related to photosymbiotic fragines but is not itself photosymbiotic.

Method of reproduction

Broadcast spawner.



Subtidal infaunal in coarse sand, silt and rubble


Unlike C. fornicata and C. gustavi, this species is an inner continental or coastal WA species with a depth range of 2-109 m (11-52 m alive). It is fully allopatric with congeners.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Heterodonta
Superorder: Imparidentia
Superfamily: Cardioidea
Family: Cardiidae
Genus: Ctenocardia
Species: pilbaraensis
Name Published Year: 2017
Scientific Name Authorship: ter Poorten & Kirkendale
Commercial Impact: 


Conservation Assessment: Least Concern

Net Conservation Benefits Fund

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Western Australian Museum Collections
Accessed 17 Jun 2021

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