Lady-In-Waiting Venus Shells (Ridged Clam)

The Lady-in-waiting Venus (Chionopsis intapurpurea) Conrad, 1849
Family Veneridae

The Lady-in-waiting Venus (Chionopsis intapurpurea) shells are easily found on S. Hutchinson Island beaches. Besides the white ridged shells with brown patterns are shells that are pure white, off white, pinkish, yellow to orange, grey and black.


Patterned Lady-In Waiting Venus Shells


The Lady-in-waiting Venus, Chionopsis intapurpurea (Conrad, 1849), is a member of the Venus clams family Veneridae. It's also known as the Ridged Clam shell. It measures up to about 1.5 inches. The shell valves have a characteristic sculpture of numerous, concentric ridges that are serrated on the edge. This feature gives the species its common name, as the frilly ridges apparently resemble the trimming on gowns of personal attendants (ladies-in-waiting) to female royalty. Do not mistake shells of this species for the young of the Southern Quahog (Mercenaria campechiensis) or of the Northern Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), which both lack the serrations on ridges and are more rounded in outline.