Anthraconaia lived on clay grade sediments. In highly variable life assemblages of the A.prolifera group of the E German Wettin Shales (Stephanian C) organic carbon percentage of the host sediment correlates with wu/m and A/L ratios of the shell (where wu is the maximum width ventral to the line of maximum growth, m, L the maximum length measured parallel to the line of the hinge, and A the length anterior to the umbo). Decrease in the organic carbon of the sediment is associated with decrease in umbonal development, elongation of the shell along the m axis, and straightening and reflection of the ventral margin; the latter becomes subparallel to the dorsum or to the m axis with a concomitant decrease in size. These results confirm and amplify earlier work on Anthraconaia in the Appalachian coalfields. The same morphological trends in relation to organic carbon characterise the Anthraconaia modiolaris group of Britain, both within a single succession in upper Westphalian A sediments in Yorkshire, and also in three shell bands of Lower Westphalian B age in S Wales, Yorkshire and central Scotland. In the last named, above the Musselband Coal, statistical formulae (of Leitch 1940) for the species A.salteri are shown to define neither the type assemblage nor its stratigraphical position. The shell-shape/organic carbon relationship has been broadly confirmed on other horizons of lower Westphalian B age in the Scottish and Pennine coalfields. Far from embarrassing the stratigrapher, the relationship, which reflects ultimately trophic level of deltaic palaeoenvironments, contributes to our understanding of non-marine bivalve faunas, especially of the apparent regional distribution of ‘species’ of Anthraconaia.