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 Black_Mussel_6.jpg Horse Mussel.jpg
Black mussel
(Choromytilus meridionalis)
Scallop
(Pecten sulcicostatus)
 Warty venus
(Venus verrucosa)
Horse Mussel
(Atrina squamifera)
   
Cape pearl oyster
(Pinctada capensis)
     
 

Bivalves are marine and freshwater molluscs belonging to the class Bivalvia. Other names for the class include Acephala, Bivalva, Pelecypoda, and Lamellibranchia. The class contains 30,000 species, including scallops, clams, oysters and mussels.

Bivalves have a shell consisting of two rounded plates called valves joined at one edge by a flexible ligament called the hinge. The shell is typically bilaterally symmetrical, with the hinge lying in the sagittal plane.

Bivalves are unique among the molluscs, having lost their odontophore and radula in their transition to filter feeding.

Some bivalves are epifaunal; they attach to surfaces. Others are infaunal; they bury themselves in sediment. These forms typically have a strong digging foot. Some bivalves such as scallops can swim.

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