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You are here:   OldClasses > 2012 > Scintilla sp. | Lauren Bailey




Scintilla sp.

Lauren Bailey (2012)



Fact Sheet



Physical Description


Local Distribution - Mini Report

Life History & Behaviour


Respiration and Feeding


Anatomy & Physiology

External Morphology

Internal Anatomy

Evolution & Systematics

Biogeographic Distribution

Conservation & Threats

References & Links

Internal Anatomy


The lamellibranch gills are an important adaptation of the bivalve molluscs, allowing a release from deposit-feeding and enabling filter-feeding to occur. There are three types of lamellibranch gills; filibranch, pseudolamellibranch and eulamellibranch gills. Eulamellibranch gills are the most complex and are the type of gills seen in Scintilla spp. Figure 1 shows the general lamellibranch system where each gill filament branches off the central axis, consisting of an ascending and descending limb. The figure has been stylised to illustrate the structure however in reality the gill filaments are very close together, forming a lamellae through which water flows. The lamellae acts to trap food particles while frontal cilia direct them into food grooves to be transported to the digestive system. 

Figure 1: Lamellibranch gill system in molluscs. Adapted from Ruppert, Fox and Barnes

Attachment to Substrate

Scintilla spp. is primarily a sessile organism, attaching to the coral rubble substrate using its byssus, located just next to the foot. The byssus is a bunch of strong protein threads which are made by the byssal glands secreting a liquid which is shaped into threads by the byssal groove then stuck to the substrate (Figure 1).

Figure 2: The byssus of Scintilla spp. for attachment to substrate. Adapted from Ruppert, Fox and Barnes

General Bivalve Anatomy

The digestive system consists of the mouth, oesophagus, intestine, stomach, rectum and anus. Labial palls are used to sort food from mineral particles that are caught within the lamellae. 
The posterior and anterior adductor muscles (Figure 4) extend between the two valves and in conjunction with the hinge ligaments are responsible for closing the valves. For Scintilla spp. heterodont (specialised) teeth line the edges of the valves to prevent slippage and cleavage of the valves.

Figure 3: Scintilla spp. with the valves removed

Figure 4: General Bivalve internal Anatomy. Adapted from Ruppert, Fox & Barnes