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Pecten jacobaeus

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Pecten jacobaeus
Temporal range: Pliocene – Recent
Pecten jacobaeus.jpg
The upper (flat) valve of Pecten jacobaeus
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Pectinida
Family: Pectinidae
Genus: Pecten
P. jacobaeus
Binomial name
Pecten jacobaeus


Pecten jacobaeus, the Mediterranean scallop, is a species of scallop, an edible saltwater scallop, a marine bivalve mollusc in the family Pectinidae, the scallops.[1]

Fossil valve of Pecten jacobaeus from Pliocene of Italy
Fossil valve of Pecten jacobaeus from Pliocene of Italy


Pecten jacobaeus usually reaches a length of about 120–140 millimetres (4.7–5.5 in), but the world record size reaches over 210 mm.[2] The two valves have different shapes. The lower valve, with which the animal rests on the bottom, is very convex and light-colored, while the upper valve is flat and brown. They show 14 to 16 ribs (radial wrinkles) with a more or less rectangular cross section. The inside of the valves is porcelain-like smooth.

The mollusc has at the edge of the mantle many short tentacles, between which there are a total of 60 blue-millimeter lens eyes. By quickly closing of the two valves it can swim away several meters in case of danger.

These scallops eat planktonic organisms and other floating food particles, which they obtain by filtering sea water with their gills.


This species appears to be endemic to the Mediterranean Sea,[2] but it may be conspecific with Pecten maximus, the great scallop, which has a larger distribution.[3] Although these two species are morphologically similar, they present distinguishing features.[3]

Fossils of Pecten jacobaeus first appear at the beginning of the Pliocene and are quite common in the Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits of Italy.[3]

Discover more about Distribution related topics

Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant in Western Asia. The Mediterranean has played a central role in the history of Western civilization. Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years during the Messinian salinity crisis before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.

Pecten maximus

Pecten maximus

Pecten maximus, common names the great scallop, king scallop, St James shell or escallop, is a northeast Atlantic species of scallop, an edible saltwater clam, a marine bivalve mollusc in the family Pectinidae. This is the type species of the genus. This species may be conspecific with Pecten jacobaeus, the pilgrim's scallop, which has a much more restricted distribution.



The Pliocene is the epoch in the geologic time scale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58 million years ago. It is the second and most recent epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch. Prior to the 2009 revision of the geologic time scale, which placed the four most recent major glaciations entirely within the Pleistocene, the Pliocene also included the Gelasian Stage, which lasted from 2.588 to 1.806 million years ago, and is now included in the Pleistocene.



The Pleistocene is the geological epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the Earth's most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change was finally confirmed in 2009 by the International Union of Geological Sciences, the cutoff of the Pleistocene and the preceding Pliocene was regarded as being 1.806 million years Before Present (BP). Publications from earlier years may use either definition of the period. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology. The name is a combination of Ancient Greek πλεῖστος, pleīstos, 'most' and καινός, kainós, 'new'.

Commercial value

Scallops of this species are collected commercially for human consumption using such techniques as the Rapido trawl.[4]

Popular culture

In a Christian context, this species is considered to be the scallop which is traditionally associated with Saint James, also known as James, son of Zebedee, also known as Saint Jacob, hence the specific name jacobaeus. It is also known as the "Pilgrim's scallop",[5] as the shells were used by the pilgrims in the Middle Ages as a cup.

Source: "Pecten jacobaeus", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 29th),

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  1. ^ a b World Register of Marine species
  2. ^ a b Pectensite
  3. ^ a b c Wilding, C. S.; Beaumont, A. R.; Latchford, J. W. (1999). "Are Pecten maximus and Pecten jacobaeus different species?". Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 79 (5): 949–952. doi:10.1017/S0025315499001149. S2CID 84757441.
  4. ^ Hall-Spencer, J. M.; Froglia, C.; Atkinson, R. J. A.; Moore, P. G. (1999). "The impact of Rapido trawling for scallops, Pecten jacobaeus (L.), on the benthos of the Gulf of Venice" (PDF). ICES Journal of Marine Science. 56 (1): 111–124. doi:10.1006/jmsc.1998.0424.
  5. ^ The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (November 26, 2008). "Scallop BIVALVE". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  • C. Linnaeus. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae (Lars Salvius, Stockholm)
  • Guido T. Poppe und Y. Goto: European Seashells. Vol II (Scaphopoda, Bivalvia, Cephalopoda). 221 S., Verlag Christa Hemmen, Wiesbaden, 1993 ISBN 3-925919-11-2
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