Pinna (bivalve)

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Temporal range: Carboniferous - Recent
Pinnidae - Pinna nobilis-001.jpg
Pinna nobilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Order: Pterioida
Family: Pinnidae
Genus: Pinna
Linnaeus, 1758

Pinna is a genus of bivalve molluscs belonging to the family Pinnidae. The type species of the genus is Pinna rudis.

The most completely studied species in the genus is P. nobilis, a Mediterranean pen shell which was historically important as the principal source of sea silk.


Pinna noblis shell & byssus.

These pen shells can reach a length of about 80–90 cm (31–35 in). They are characterized by thin, elongated, wedge-shaped, and almost triangular shells with long, toothless edges. The surface of the shells shows radial ribs over their entire length.

Pinna is distinguished from its sibling genus Atrina by the presence of a sulcus dividing the nacreous region of the valves, and the positioning of the adductor scar on the dorsal side of shells.

These bivalves most commonly stand point-first in the sea bottom in which they live, anchored by a net of byssus threads.


Species in the genus Pinna are geographically widespread. This genus is very ancient, going back up to the Carboniferous period. It is especially represented in Jurassic and Cretaceous fossils.[1]


According to WoRMS, species in the genus Pinna include:


  • Frank H.T. Rodes, Herbert S. Zim en Paul R. Shaffer (1993) - Natuurgids Fossielen (het ontstaan, prepareren en rangschikken van fossielen), Zuidnederlandse Uitgeverij N.V., Aartselaar. ISBN D-1993-0001-361
  • Cyril Walker & David Ward (1993) - Fossielen: Sesam Natuur Handboeken, Bosch & Keuning, Baarn. ISBN 90-246-4924-2
  • Packard, Earl; Jones, David L. (Sep 1965). "Cretaceous Pelecypods of the Genus Pinna from the West Coast of North America". Journal of Paleontology. 39 (1): 910–915. 
  • "Glossary". Man and Mollusc. Retrieved 2008-01-30.