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An interesting find of a very large tellin adds to the list of species known from Sint Eustatius.

Every day, underwater, the scuba divers of the Statia Marine 2015 Expedition are finding and photographing live organisms, as well as taking them back to the lab at the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute for DNA subsampling. The divers are also picking up dead empty mollusc shells. With all this material coming in to the CNSI lab for identification, each day we are able to add several more species to the list of marine molluscs of Statia (previously 182 species).


DivelocationThe Blocks (Photo: Marion Haarsma)

On Sunday June 14th during the second dive of the day at "The Blocks", in a depth of 17 m, Marion Haarsma spotted a large (100 mm) and unusual-looking valve (one half of the shell) of a bivalve 

Niels Schrieken gave the valve to the malacologists on the team (Susan J. Hewitt and Sylvia van Leeuwen) to identify. They were surprised; it is a valve of the Great Tellin, Laciolina magna, the largest tellin in the western Atlantic Ocean, and rather a rare species.


Great Telin, Laciolina magna (Photo: Susan J. Hewitt)

The shell of the Great Tellin is semi-translucent, thin but strong. Typically the shell of this species is cream in color; in other individuals it can be tinged with pink or yellow, but never in a pattern of rays. Although the shell is large and showy, and therefore not easy to overlook, the species is not known from many localities in its range, which includes Bermuda, North Carolina and Florida in the US, the Gulf of Mexico, Colombia and the Greater and Lesser Antilles, including Saba. Thanks to Marion for finding this valve, which makes an interesting addition to the list for Statia

Text: Susan J. Hewitt

You can read the blog and more also on the Naturalis site by following this link
On the website of Scubaqua you can read more about the underwater life of this beautiful Island. Follow the link.


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  • Finding the Great Tellin at St. Eustatius

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