Shell opaque, very solid, inequilateral, covered with concentric ridges which bend backwards, and towards the sides or ends become coarser, forming knots or tubercles. These ridges are divided by fine ribs or furrows, which radiate from the beaks, giving them a scalloped appearance. Umbones prominent, the beaks small and sharp, the lunule distinct and heart-shaped. Ligament rather long and narrow. Three teeth in each valve; the margins crenulated inside. Colour, pale yellowish-brown.
This coarse, rough-looking shell is found on many parts of the coast of the English Channel, also in the Channel Islands, and in Ireland.
Mr. Hanley* states, that at Herm, near Guernsey, it is collected as an article of food from the small pools between the rocks at low water; and Dr. J effreys says that it is habitually eaten in County Clare, and that Weinkauff mentions its being sold in the market at Algiers.
Venus Verrucosa. Warty Venus.
del _ G. B. Sowerby, lith. Vincent Brooks, Imp
It is a common species on the south coast of Ireland, and Mr. Damon, of Weymouth, on visiting Henmare, found that owing to the great consumption of Venus verrucosa for food, the species was nearly exhausted. It is dug out of a sandbank at low spring tides, at Bantry. M. Charles Bretagne, Member of the Societe Imperiale d'Acclimatation, wished to try and propagate it on the coasts of France, from Toulon to Menton, and the Due de Monaco conceded the right to establish banks for the rearing of oysters and la Praire, as this Venus is called in France.† The stock of the latter would have to be brought from Mahon, as it is not found in any quantity on the coast of Provence. Dr. Paul Fischer observes that it ought to thrive well at Arcachon if cultivated, as it is indigenous there.
It has several names by which it is known in Spain; viz., Maclo cuadrado, Carneros, Gurrianos y VerigŁetos, Gredas, Escupinas grabadas, and at Naples, Taratufolo and Camadiš, and in Sicily, Vongulo.
The beautiful Venus Chione, or Cytherea Chione, may also be included in our list of "edible mollusea," though it is not sufficiently abundant to form any more than a rare and dainty dish with us; while in the Mediterranean, it is a common species; and according to Mr. Faber,* it is also abundant in the lagoons of Venice, and on the sand-banks of Grado on the Austrio-ltalian coast, and the shells are exported for miniature painting.
* Forbes and Hanley, 'British Mollusca,' vol. i. p. 404. † 'Notes sur la Praire,' par M. Charles Bretagne, 'Journal de Con-chyliologie,' tome xii. 1864.
It is however, found at Hayle, Cornwall, and may be gathered at the lowest spring tides. They burrow in the sand, and it requires some skill and quickness to catch them, as they retire so rapidly. The fishermen called them "cocks" and told me they usually cooked them by boiling, but that they did not often eat them. I have taken them near the mouth of the river Helford, where they appear to be tolerably abundant; and in that neighbourhood the local name given to this species is the Cram.
I was so fortunate as to procure a dozen beautiful specimens from Plymouth, besides those from the Helford river; the largest measuring 2 1/2 inches in length and 3 1/2 in breadth. The colour is a pinkish-brown, with rays of a darker shade; the epidermis is of a pale horn-colour, and transparent, showing the rays of the shell through, and is very glossy. The shell itself is solid and opaque. Specimens sent to me from the Mediterranean are the same as those found on our coasts, both as to size and colouring; but this is not the case with some of our other bivalves, - the Isocardia Cor, for instance, attaining a larger size with us, than it does in the south of Europe.
* 'The Fisheries of the Adiatic,' by George L. Faber.
Messrs. Forbes and Hanley give the following localities for Cythereta chione, viz., Plymouth and Teign-mouth, and Dr. Jeffreys mentions Mount's Bay, and other parts of the coast of Cornwall.
The Neapolitans call it Fasolara, and the Tarentines, Camadia di luna, while in Spain it is called Saverinas, Conchas, and Mariposas*
Poli, in his magnificent work, the 'Testacea utri-usque Siciliae' (to which more modern writers are so deeply indebted for their anatomical description of molluscous animals), mentioning this fish, under the names of Venus chione and Gallista coccinea, says it is most excellent, and that though cooked in various ways (common to different shellfish), it is most delicious when simply cooked in oil, or butter, with breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, and pepper and salt.