Atlanta Winged Oyster, Pteria colymbus

The Atlantic Winged Oyster, Pteria Colymbus, is a species of bivalve mollusk belonging to the family Pteriidae. It can be found along the Atlantic coast of North Carolina to Brazil and Bermuda.

This Atlantic Winged Oyster grows to about 2.8 inches long and is a distinctive, asymmetric shape. The hinge is long and strait with one wing drawn out a long way and the other one much smaller. The upper valve is brownish, often mottled with some paler markings. The lower valve is smaller and flatter and the coloration of the interior of the shell is a pearly grey. The posterior margin is rounded and the anterior margin is elongated and slopes at an acute angle to the hinge. There are several indistinct, irregular ribs that flare outwards from the umbo. These are meagerly covered with blunt spines and there is a fine sculpturing of concentric growth lines.

The Atlantic winged oyster can be found in the Western Atlantic at depths between 10 to 100 feet. The range stretches from North Carolina and Florida, southwards through the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to Venezuela and northern Brazil.

It is often found attached to the stems of gorgonian corals by strong byssus threads. It often has algae and other organisms growing on the shell which make it very well camouflaged. It’s a filter feeder and reproduces all year round. The spat abundance varies and peaks at four different points in the period between November and March.

Image Caption: Atlanta Winged Oyster, Pteria Colymbus. Credit: Veronidae/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)