Lithophaga lithophaga

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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 shell or date mussel,[2] is 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.


  1. ^ Serge Gofas (2010). P. Bouchet, S. Gofas & G. Rosenberg, ed. "Lithophaga lithophaga (Linnaeus, 1758)". World Marine Mollusca database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved January 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Lithophaga lithophaga Identification Sheet 004" (PDF). Environment Canada. Retrieved 2010-05-29. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e Italy and Slovenia (on behalf of the Member States of the European Community). "CoP13 Prop. 35 Inclusion of Lithophaga lithophaga in Appendix II, in accordance with Article II, paragraph 2 (a)." (PDF). CITES. Retrieved 2015-01-08. 
  4. ^ BIUS – Udruga studenata biologije (2001-07-26). "Prstaci (Lithophaga lithophaga)". University of Zagreb Faculty of Science Division of Biology. Retrieved 2010-05-06. 
  5. ^ Croatian Parliament (1997-05-05). "Zakon o morskom ribarstvu" (in Croatian). Narodne novine 46/1997. Retrieved 2010-05-29. Radi zaštite hridinaste obale kao posebnog staništa ribolovnog mora zabranjen je izlov prstaca i zabranjeno je njihovo stavljanje u promet na cijelom teritoriju Republike Hrvatske, kao i njihov izvoz. 
  6. ^ a b "Identification manual" (PDF). CITES Secretariat. 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  7. ^ "Lithophaga lithophaga (Linnaeus, 1758)" (in French). GIS Posidonie. 2003-03-13. Retrieved 2010-06-20. Protection  : Interdiction de la pêche en France par arrêté du 26 novembre 1992. 
  8. ^ "Appendix II - Strictly protected fauna species". Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Council of Europe. 2002-03-01. Retrieved 2010-06-20. Molluscs - Bivalvia - Mytiloida - Lithophaga lithophaga (Med.) 

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