Seashells of the Adriatic Sea


There are about 240 species of shells living in the Adriatic Sea. A majority of shells live along the coast and in the lower sea, attached to rocks or in the sand which makes it easier to pick them up. Most seashells can be picked up by hand without any special equipment, either from the shore or the sea. This makes them easily reachable so, unfortunately, they are over-hunted due to their tasteful meat or attractive shell which many people want to keep as a souvenir.

Strictly protected seashells:

  • Common piddock (Pholas dactylus)
  • Date mussels (Lithophaga lithophaga)
  • Fan mussel (Atrina fragilis)
  • Noble pen mussel (Pinna nobilis)

Noble pen mussel (Pinna nobilis)

The pen shell is the biggest shell of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. It can grow up to 1 meter. It lives in the sand, at depths from 2 to 30 meters. Its habitat is frequently sea grass as well. It is interesting that sometimes pearls can be found in it. Many people want to have its beautiful shell as a souvenir so they carelessly take it from the sea. Its quantity has decreased in tourist areas particularly. It is protected in the whole Adriatic and the Mediterranean, so hunting and sales is strictly forbidden.

You can also help:

  • if you don not take the shell from the sea
  • if you report hunting and selling at telephone number 112

Date mussel (Lithophaga lithophaga)

The date mussel lives and grows digging holes in a rocky sea shore. Due to its extremely tasteful meat, it is over-hunted. Not only does it take 50-60 years for it to grow but to take it out it is necessary to break and almost irreversibly destroy the rocky shore. Therefore, it is strictly protected in Croatia and hunting and sales of this shell is strictly forbidden.

You can also help:

  • if you do not hunt date mussels
  • refuse to eat date mussels offered in a restaurant or black market
  • report over-hunting and sales of date mussels at 112

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