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The Functional Morphology of the British Species of Veneracea (Eulamellibranchia)

  • Alan D. Ansell (a1)

Extract

The functional morphology of twelve British species of the Veneridae is described. The systematic position of Mysia undata and evolution within the Veneracea are discussed.

Structurally, the members of the family Veneridae show a lack of special adaptations. The ability to move horizontally as well as ventrally in soft substrata is retained; the pedal gape is large and the foot well developed. The siphons are relatively short and fused. The food-collecting mechanisms of the mantle cavity are largely unspecialized and function in maintaining a considerable flow of water, and retaining as much as possible of the suspended material. Members of the Veneridae show a considerable uniformity of structure, but trends of evolutionary change may be distinguished. The genera Gafrarium and Callista are least specialized. The genus Dosinia has evolved along an independent line and is specialized by the possession of a stream-lined, circular shell, deep lunule, and greatly elongated siphons, for a relatively deep-burrowing habit. Within the superfamily Veneracea major lines of adaptive evolution have given rise to the rock-boring Petricolidae and the deep-burrowing Glaucomyidae, and the genera Venerupis and Irus show affinities with both these families.

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