Pectens, scallops as they are commonly known, are the most collected bivalve. Pectinidae is an extremely large family that are worldwide in distribution and are found in tropical, temperate and even arctic seas.
They are most interesting to observe when alive as they jet propel themselves across the ocean floor. They make a very popular meal and are a standard item at seafood restaurants.
There are about 500 different recent species. They all have two valves with an almost round outline, with radiating ribs and two ears on each side of the shell. Pectens are fascinating to collect because of the wide variety of colors and patterns found in many species.
Swiftopecten swiftii (Bernardi, 1858) is a large solid shell growing up to 4” in size. They are easy to distinguish from all other pecten due to their elongated triangular shape and unique sculpture. (Most all pecten are roundish). They grow in spurts as can be clearly seen in the photo. At the conclusion of each growth cycle the shell forms knobs, as does Florida’s Nodipecten nodosus (Linnaeus, 1758).
This specimen is the typical purplish color. Rare specimens are yellow, pink, albino and even maroon! One side is always colored and the other whitish. A color set is extremely difficult and expensive to obtain. Seeing one is quite impressive!
Swiftopecten swiftii (Bernardi, 1858) has a limited range from the north of Japan to the Russian mainland. This Japanese specimen is donated from the collection of Richard Kent. For those who collect scallop shells, swifti is a must.