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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1624014, 9 pages
Research Article

Molecular Phylogeny and Morphological Distinctions of Two Popular Bivalves, Ctenoides scaber and Ctenoides mitis

1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado Boulder, 334 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado Boulder, 265 UCB, Boulder, CO 80302, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Lindsey F. Dougherty

Received 19 August 2017; Accepted 2 November 2017; Published 6 December 2017

Academic Editor: Robert A. Patzner

Copyright © 2017 Lindsey F. Dougherty and Jingchun Li. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the most well-known species in the bivalve family Limidae (d’Orbigny, 1846) is the brightly colored Ctenoides scaber (Born, 1778), commonly known as the rough file clam or flame scallop. Distinguishing this bivalve from its close relative, C. mitis (Lamarck, 1807), can be difficult using only morphological features and has led to much taxonomic confusion throughout the literature. In this study, morphological characters were compared to a molecular phylogeny constructed using three genes (COI, 28S, and H3) in order to differentiate C. scaber and C. mitis. The phylogeny recovered two well-supported clades that differ significantly in shell rib numbers, but not tentacle colors. The two species were then placed in a larger phylogenetic context of the Limidae family, which revealed the need for further systematic revision across genera. As these bivalves are popular in aquaria, cannot be tank-raised, and have been overcollected in the past, proper species identification is important for assessing sustainable collection practices.