Lithophaga lithophaga

Lithophaga lithophaga

Lithophaga lithophaga
Lithophaga lithophaga boring into marine rocks
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Pteriomorphia
Order: Mytiloida
Family: Mytilidae
Genus: Lithophaga
Species: L. lithophaga
Binomial name
Lithophaga lithophaga
(Linnaeus, 1758[1]

Lithophaga lithophaga, also known as date shells or date mussels,[2] are a species of Bivalvia. They can be found in northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.[3] They are found on the Adriatic coast of Croatia and Montenegro under the name prstaci.[4] They bore into marine rocks, producing a boring called Gastrochaenolites.

Several governments have restricted the collection of these shells or even made it wholly illegal, in order to protect the rocks on which they are found. The extraction of the shells from the rocks leads to desertification of the coast. These countries include Croatia,[5] Italy,[3] Slovenia,[6] France,[7] Greece,[3] Montenegro,[3] and others, including participants in the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention)[8] and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).[2][6] As of 2004, its population distributed over the Turkish coastline is not considered to be under threat.[3]

Historically these shells are considered a delicacy, cooked and served in a broth of white wine, garlic and parsley.


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