Long Beach Island | Cyrtopleura costata

Angel Wing

Submitted by lupo on Sat, 10/23/2010 - 21:27

Latin Name: 
Cyrtopleura costata
Common Name: 
Angel Wing

White shell, elongate oval-like in shape, thin, and very fragile. There are around 25 radiating ribs each half of the shell and a spoon-shaped brace under the "beak,", which is where the mollusc's foot muscles are attached.


Angel wings have long siphons which protrude from their burrow. This allows them to circulate water for their filter feeding diet. They are unable to retract their siphons into the protection of its shell hence the two valves can never shut completely. The muscles fusing the shell's valves together are weak, making it rare to find angelwings with both halves still intact. Angel wings live offshore and in estuaries. They sometimes burrow as much as three feet deep into the mud or clay.


Cape Cod to the Gulf of Mexico.