Marine mollusca of Carnac, Brittany

This summer we spent a fortnight's holiday at the small fishing port of La Trinite sur Mer on the south coast of Brittany in the Morbihan region. During the holiday we explored several local beaches which were fairly interesting but the most rewarding for the shell collector proved to be Carnac - a sandy bay just over a mile long, with groups of rocks, most¬ly exposed only at low tide. On this beach alone we managed to collect eighty species of mollusca which are listed below for the benefit of anyone visiting that area in the future. All the species not preceded by the letter S (shell only) or the letter V (single valves), were found alive. The nomenclature follows Winkworth's list of British Mollusca with the single exception of Dentalium dentalis Lin,, which is a continental species (see Jeffreys Vol. 3 page 196)


  • Acanthochitona crinitus (Pennant)
  • Tonicella marmorea (Fabricius)
  • Callochiton achatinus (Brown)


  • Patella vulgata, Linne
  • Patella depressa. Pennant
  • Gibbula magus (da Costa)
  • Gibbula cineraria (Linne)
  • Gibbula umbilicalis (da Costa)
  • Gibbula lineata (da Costa)
  • (s) Tricolia pullus (da Costa)
  • (s) Lacuna paliidula (da Costa)
  • Littorina littorea (Linne)
  • Littorina saxatilis saxatilus (Olivi
  • Littorina saxatilis rudis (Maton)
  • Littorina saxatilis jugosa (Montagu)
  • Littorina littoralis (Linne)
  • (s) Alvania beanii 'Thorpe)
  • Rissoa lilacina? Reclus
  • Turritella communis, Risso (S)
  • Cerithiopsis ?
  • Clathrus clathrus (Linne)
  • (s) Odostomia ?
  • Calyptraea chinensis (Linne)
  • (s) Aporrhais pespelicani
  • quadrifidus, da Costa (s)
  • Natica catena (da Costa)
  • Trivia monacha monacha (da Costa)
  • Trivia monacha arctica (Montagu)
  • Nucella lapillus (Linne)
  • Ocenebra erinacea (Linne)
  • (s) Buccinum undatum littorale, King?
  • Nassarius reticulatus (Linne)
  • Nassarius incrassatus (Strom)
  • (S) Nassarius pygmaeus (Lamarck)
  • Haedropleura septangularis (Montagu)
  • (s) Mangelia coarctata (Forbes)
  • Haminoea hydatis (Linne)


  • (s) Dentalium vulgare (da Costa)
  • Dentalium dentalis, Linne


  • Anomia ephippium, Linne 
  • Mytilus edulis, Linne 
  • (v) Mytilus galloprovincialis, Lamarck 
  • Modiolus barbatus (Linne) 
  • S) Modiolus adriaticus ovalis (Sowerby)
  • V) Musculus discors (Linne)
  • Ostrea edulisf Linne
  • Ostrea angulata (Lamarck)
  • (v) Pecten maximus (Linne)
  • Chlamys varia varia (Linne)
  • Chlamys varia purpurea (Jeffreys)
  • (s) Chlamys cpercularis (Linne)
  • Loripes lucinalis (Tukton)
  • Cardium tuberculatum., Linne
  • Cardium papillosum, Poli
  • (s) Cardium exiguum, Gmelin
  • Cardium edule edule, Linne
  • Cardium crassum, Gmelin (v)
  • Dosinia exoleta (Linne)
  • S) Dosinia lupinus (Montagu)
  • V) Callista chione (Linne)
  • Venus verrucosa, Linne
  • Paphia aurea (Gmelin) .
  • Paphia rhomboides (Pennant)
  • Paphia pullastra (Montagu)
  • Paphia decussata (Gmelin)
  • Donax vittatus (da Costa)
  • Tellina squalida, Montagu
  • Tellina tenuis, da Costa
  • (s) Tellina donacina, Linne
  • (v) Gastrana fragilis (Linne)
  • Gari depressa (Pennant)
  • (s) Solecurtus scopula (Turton)
  • (s) Ensis ensis (Linne)
  • (s) Ensis arcuatus (Jeffreys)
  • Ensis siliqua (Linne)
  • Solen marginatus, Montagu Spisula solida (Linne)
  • (v) Spisula subtruncata (da Costa) (s) Lutraria lutraria (Linne)
  • (V) Lutraria magna (da Costa)
  • V) Bamea Candida (Linne)
  • V) Pandora margaritacea, Lamarck

The most common Gastropod is Gibbula magus which was found in large numbers in fine condition,, greatly varying in colour and markings. Anomia ephippium was the commonest lamellibranch.

The bulk of the specimens were collected on our first visit, but as each successive visit yielded more new species I would suggest that the list is most probably not complete. Although we had neither the facilities nor the inclination to collect marine nudibranchs for identification at home I did note in passing a pair of well nourished Tethys punctata at least six inches long, one or two Archidoris, etc., and have no doubt that the nudibranch devotee would find the rock pools equally interesting.

For those wishing to combine gastronomy with conchology there are many possibilities, molluscan and otherwise. In addition to the well known edible mollusca such as oysters, mussels, cockles, etc. others are eaten. Venus verrucosa is sold in the fish market under the name of 'Praire' and Paphia decussata is sold as 'Palourde', The dish 'Palourde Farcie' is more than a dish - it is a gastronomic experience that should not be missed. Should any member require further information on this picturesque region I should be very pleased to supply it.

R. Fresco-Corbu