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Temporal range: 225.0–0.0 Ma Triassic to Recent
One valve of a shell of Lithophaga truncata
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Mytilida
Family: Mytilidae
Genus: Lithophaga
Röding, 1798

See text


Lithophaga, the date mussels, are a genus of medium-sized marine bivalve molluscs in the family Mytilidae. Some of the earliest fossil Lithophaga shells have been found in Mesozoic rocks from the Alps and from Vancouver Island.[2][3]

The shells of species in this genus are long and narrow with parallel sides. The animals bore into stone or coral rock with the help of pallial gland secretions,[4] hence the systematic name Lithophaga, which means "stone-eater". Their club-shaped borings are given the trace fossil name Gastrochaenolites.[3]


Species within the genus Lithophaga include:


  • "Lithophaga". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  • Stephen D. A. Smith, Densities of the endolithic bivalve Lithophaga lessepsiana (Vaillant, 1865) in Pocillopora damicornis, Solitary Islands Marine Park, northern NSW, Australia; Molluscan Research 31(1): 42–46; ISSN 1323-5818
  1. ^ Gofas, Serge (2004). "Lithophaga Röding, 1798". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species.
  2. ^ Ludvigsen, Rolf & Beard, Graham. 1997. West Coast Fossils: A Guide to the Ancient Life of Vancouver Island. pg. 102
  3. ^ a b Kleemann, K.H., 1994. Mytilid bivalve Lithophaga in Upper Triassic coral Pamiroseris from Zlambach Beds compared with Cretaceous Lithophaga alpina. Facies 30, 151-154.
  4. ^ "integument (mollusks)."Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica 2006 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD