Caribbean Reef Clam
Periglypta listeri (Gray, 1838)
Family Veneridae (Venus Clams)
The zipper-like mantle edge of Periglypta listeri forms a tightly sealed cavity, entered and exited only by the extended siphons. The family Veneridae is known since the Cretaceous Period and is represented by ca. 50 living genera and more than 800 species (in 12 commonly recognized subfamilies), making this family the largest among living bivalves. Venerids are distributed worldwide mainly in shallow temperate to tropical seas. The common name "venus clam" refers to the heart-shaped shell outline in anterior-posterior view.
Evolution on the Half Shell...
The Assembling the Tree of Life: Bivalvia project (BivAToL) is a part of the Assembling the Tree of Life initiative, a large research effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Its goal is to reconstruct the evolutionary origins of all living things.
Jetsam & Flotsam
Some of the BivATOL team met in early May at the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Tropical Research Station at Summerland Key, FL for a combined collecting trip and coding workshop. Both activities are essential to our project’s goal of determining the phylogenetic relationships among the bivalve families.
After collection, many of the species’ visible and molecular characteristics must be compared and “coded,” after which the phylogenetic computer analyses will be run to produce the final “tree” from which a hypothesis of relationships can be made. Below is an example of a portion of such a phylogenetic tree. Families that are on nearby branches are more closely related to each other than those further away.