Bittersweet Clam: Family Glycymerididae

Bittersweet Clam: Family Glycymerididae

The Bittersweet clam shells are common on my beach and Florida beaches. They are bi-valves somewhat related to Ark shells but are round. The two predominat types are the Giant Atlantic Bittersweet and the Spectral Bittersweet (a third type identified as Combs Bittersweet -see Bailey/Matthews- has not yet been found here by me yet). The Giant Bittersweet may reach 5" in size and is round with a beaked umbo. It's a white shell that features intricate brown patterns circling around the umbo and extending toward the bottom. Smaller versions of the shell (1/2' or smaller) have more intense patterns.  The Spectral Bittersweet clam shells (around 1/2 to 1") are attractive for their patterns of brown and white. Spectral Bittersweets are round shells and range from dark brown to pure white.