Carl Linnaeus originally described Venus gallina from the Mediterranean Sea in 1758. Other zoologists may have consequently assumed that da Costa's 1778 Pectunculus striatulus was a different northern species. However, Linnaeus afterwards mentioned that his V. gallina also occurs in Oceano Norvegico. Following Dodge in 1952, the name Chamelea gallina is considered to be valid. There are now two recognised subspecies: the Mediterranean C. g. gallina, and the Atlantic C. g. striatula.
The shell is solid and thick, with two equal sized valves and up to five centimetres long. It is broadly triangular but asymmetrical, having a round anterior margin but a somewhat elongated posterior. The periostracum is thin and the ligament connecting the two valves is narrow. The lunule is short and heart-shaped, light brown with fine radiating ridges. The shell is sculptured with about fifteen concentric ridges. The colour is whitish, cream or pale yellow, sometimes shiny, and usually with three red-brown radiating rays.
Chamelea gallina occurs on Eastern Atlantic coasts, from Norway and the British Isles, Portugal, Morocco, Madeira and the Canary Islands. It is also found in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea and is abundant in the Adriatic Sea.
Chamelea gallina lives under the surface of clean and muddy sand at a depth of between five and twenty metres. It is a filter feeder, taking in a variety of microalgae, bacteria and small particles of detritus.
This species is used for food. In 1995 the total recorded catch was 42,000 tons with the largest catches being taken by Italy and Turkey. The shells are mostly caught with dredges but some bottom trawling is done and some aquaculture takes place in Italy.
- Serge Gofas (2012). "Chamelea gallina (Linnaeus, 1758)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- Michelle Carter (2008). "Chamelea gallina. Striped venus clam". Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- "Chamelea gallina (Linnaeus, 1758)". Species Fact Sheets. Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- Habiats.org.uk, images