Common cockle

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Veneroida
Family: Cardiidae
Genus: Cerastoderma
Species: C. edule
Binomial name
Cerastoderma edule
(Linnaeus, 1758[1]
Synonyms
  • Cardium belgicum De Malzine, 1867
  • Cardium crenulatum Lamarck, 1819
  • Cardium edule Linnaeus, 1758 (basionym)
  • Cardium edule burchanae Girscher, 1938
  • Cardium edule var. batesoni Bucquoy, Dautzenberg & Dollfus, 1892
  • Cardium edule var. loppensi Mars, 1951
  • Cardium edule var. major Bucquoy, Dautzenberg & Dollfus, 1892
  • Cardium mercatorium Coen, 1915
  • Cardium nunninkae Lucas, 1984
  • Cardium obtritum Locard, 1886
  • Cardium quadrarium Reeve, 1845
  • Cardium vulgare Da Costa, 1778
  • Cerastoderma edule var. sinicola Lacourt, 1974
  • Cerastoderma nunninkae Lucas, 1984

Cerastoderma edule, commonly known as the common cockle, is a species of edible saltwater clam, a marine bivalve mollusc in the family Cardiidae, the cockles.

This species is found in coastal areas of the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It is widely distributed from Norway to the coast of west Africa.


The common cockle is one of the most abundant species of molluscs in tidal flats in the bays and estuaries of Europe. It is an important species for the fishing industry, and it plays a major role as a source of food for crustaceans, fish, and wading birds. It is commercially fished in Ireland, Britain and France by suction dredge and hand raking. Previously the greatest catch was from the Netherlands, but now fisheries restrictions have been put in place due to environmental concerns] (www.FAO.org; Morgan et al., 2012). It is also used in aquaculture; farming of cockles is ongoing in Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal however information about this enterprise is limited (www.FAO.org).

This cockle is cooked and eaten in several countries (including France, Germany, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom). Probably a significant food source in hunter-gatherer societies of prehistoric Europe, the remains of shell-imprints have been found, see Archeological record below.

Archeological record

Cardial Ware is a name attributed to Neolithic pottery from maritime cultures that colonized the Mediterranean littoral c. 6000 - 5,500 B.C.


The clay is imprinted with fine decorations, repetitions of the distinct curved ridges, undulating lines and/or edges characteristic to the cockle shell, a natural resource of coastal waters.

External links

  • biology and ecology
  • Modelling of the cockle fishing grounds

References