Pholas dactylus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Bivalves
  3. Piddock


The piddocks are a strange group of clam-like shellfish that burrow into soft rocks and even wood. Their long, oval shells are rough, chalky white in colour and often quite brittle when washed up on the beach. They live their entire lives within their burrows.

How to identify

There are several very similar species of piddock, although as a group they are quite characteristic because of their rough, white shells that often don't fully close.

Where to find it

Found along the south coast of England, around Wales and at one or two places on the east coast of England as far north as Northumberland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Molluscs provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Pholas dactylus
Length: up to 15cm Average Lifespan: 8 years
Conservation status