Long Beach Island | Petricolaria pholadiformis

False Angel Wing

Submitted by lupo on Sat, 10/16/2010 - 23:13

Latin Name: 
Petricolaria pholadiformis
Common Name: 
False Angel Wing

The shell of this species can be up to 2¾ inches long. The thin elongate ovalish shaped shell is similar to a small angelwing but is missing the rolled-out, expanded hinge area. There is strong radial ribbing present on the end of the shell where the hinge is located. The color may vary from yellowish brown to white.

a false angel wing shell

A worn but still intact False Angel Wing shell.



The false angel wing typically burrows into hard surfaces, such as clay or peat, in intertidal zones. Their elongate shell is used to grind through the substrate, which forms a tubular burrow. Each individual will remain in its burrow for their entire lifetime. They extrude a siphon through their shell and burrow to filter water, which is how false angel wings obtain their food. Holes that remain after the death of an individual may be used by other organisms like crabs or other mollusks.

A view of a false angel wing shell that shows the left and right shells, partially broken, but still attached.

Petricolaria pholadiformis shell that shows the shape of the hinge.



Canada to Uruguay.


Angel Wing, Fallen Angel Wing

an angel wing shell

The Angel Wing has a larger and more expanded hinge.


false angel wing

The False Angel Wing shell has an unremarkable hinge and does not contain a consistent pronounced ribbing throughout the entire length of the shell.