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Small photo of a pipi, which is abivalveThe name bivalve indicates that the main feature of this class of molluscs have two shells. Bivalves include mussels, scallops, cockles, oysters, clams and the unusual shipworms.

Bivalves are two shelled aquatic molluscs, bilaterally symmetrical and laterally compressed.

The mantle cavity contains a respiratory chamber and the food gathering mechanism. The mantle cavity also discharges waste and reproductive products, The mantle itself secretes the shell.

Small photo of an oyster, which is a bivalveMost bivalves have a well-developed foot that is used for burrowing and creeping. Other fixed bivalves, such as the oysters, have lost the use of the foot completely.

Most bivalves are sedentary and may live either in or on the substrate.


Bennett, I. (1987) W. J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. New Holland, Sydney.

Edgar, G. J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books, Kew.

Quinn, G. P., Wescott, G. C. & Synnot, R. N. (1992) Life on the Rocky Shores of South-eastern Australia: an illustrated field guide. Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne.

Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984) Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.

Macpherson, J. H. & Gabriel, C. J. (1962) Marine Molluscs of Victoria. Melbourne University Press & The National Museum of Victoria.

Shepherd, S. A. & Thomas, I. M. (1982) Marine Invertebrates of Victoria, Pt. 1. South Australian Government Printer, Adelaide.

Underwood, A. J. & Chapman, M. G. (1993) Seashores: a beachcomber's guide. New South Wales University Press, Sydney.


Edible Mussel
Little Black Horse Mussel
Commercial Oyster

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photo of Keith DaveyLife on Australian Seashores
by Keith Davey (C) 2000

Learning Consultant - Media
The University of Newcastle

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Scientific Consultant: Phil Colman
site created 01.01.98 : updated 01.04.2000