cockle

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cockle,

common name applied to the heart-shaped, jumping or leaping marine bivalvebivalve,
aquatic mollusk of the class Pelecypoda ("hatchet-foot") or Bivalvia, with a laterally compressed body and a shell consisting of two valves, or movable pieces, hinged by an elastic ligament.
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 mollusks, belonging to the order Eulamellibranchia. The brittle shells are of uniform size, are obliquely spherical, and possess distinct radiating ridges, or ribs, which aid the animal in gripping the sand. The mantle has three distinct apertures (inhalant, exhalant, and pedal) through which the inhalant and exhalant siphons and the foot protrude. The cockle lives in sand and mud in shallow water, often in brackish inlets. It burrows until only the siphons project, pulling in water from which the animal strains the minute planktonic organisms on which it feeds. All cockles are hermaphroditic. In order to accomplish the characteristic jumping form of forward locomotion, the large, powerful, muscular foot is bent backward beneath the shell and then straightened. In most adults, the foot is about as long as the greatest length of the shell.

Several species of cockles are considered to be good, edible clams. In the British Isles, great numbers of cockles are taken annually for food from densely populated beds. These beds have been known to migrate in units, probably in response to changes in currents. Protothaca staminea, the rock cockle, is among the best known and most widely used for food. It usually does not exceed 3 in. (7.5 cm) in length. Rock cockles are poor diggers and inhabit packed mud, or gravel mixed with sand, usually 8 in. (20 cm) below the surface. They are found on the Pacific Coast near the rocky shores of bays and estuaries. Those inhabiting the open coast during the summer months should not be eaten because they may be infected with toxin-producing organisms. P. semidecussata, the Japanese littleneck clam, is smaller but considered to be better-flavored than the rock cockle. The shell is more elongated, with a brownish to bluish banding on one end. It inhabits an environment similar to that of P. staminea and is widespread in Puget Sound, Wash.; British Columbia; and San Francisco and Tomales Bay, Calif.

Unlike the genus Protothaca, the basket cockles (Clinocardium nuttalli, or Cardium corbis) are good diggers and have a large foot. Lacking siphon tubes, basket cockles burrow only slightly beneath the surface and inhabit sand flats, particularly along the Pacific Coast. They are considered good eating clams but are too few in number to be widely marketed. They are most abundant in British Columbia and in Puget Sound, Wash., with fewer found south as far as Baja California and north as far as the Bering Sea.

The hard shell cockles, genus Chione, are found from San Pedro, Calif., S into Mexico. The giant Atlantic cockle, Dinocardium robustum (Cardium magnum), reaches 5 in. (12.5 cm) in diameter and is found along the Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Brazil. It has shells with toothed margins, strikingly colored in yellowish brown with spots and transverse stripes of chestnut or purple. Cockles are classified in the phylum MolluscaMollusca
, taxonomic name for the one of the largest phyla of invertebrate animals (Arthropoda is the largest) comprising more than 50,000 living mollusk species and about 35,000 fossil species dating back to the Cambrian period.
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, class Pelecypoda or Bivalvia, order Eulamellibranchia.

cockle

[′käk·əl]
(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for a number of species of marine mollusks in the class Bivalvia characterized by a shell having convex radial ribs.

cockle

2
1. any sand-burrowing bivalve mollusc of the family Cardiidae, esp Cardium edule (edible cockle) of Europe, typically having a rounded shell with radiating ribs
2. any of certain similar or related molluscs
3. short for cockleshell
4. a small furnace or stove

cockle

2
any of several plants, esp the corn cockle, that grow as weeds in cornfields
References in periodicals archive ?
Michal Witusinski, 30, of North Street in Shotton, admitted taking cockles and a second charge of doing so using rakes, and was fined PS150 with PS1,230 costs and a PS20 surcharge.
But we warn that the quality of water at Hartlepool has not been established and that eating cockles gathered from the Tees estuary could result in serious stomach problems - which can be fatal in children and the elderly.
If we don't close the beds now there will not be any cockles there next year.
Large numbers of mussels can smother cockles and last week many were dredged and moved to the Menai Strait, to be used as seed for harvesting in 12 to 18 months.
WELSH cockle pickers have spoken of fears for their livelihoods after the death of millions of the shellfish.
They used quad bikes to speed out to Cramond Island at low tide and return with hundreds of sacks of protected cockles.
There are believed to be pounds 500,000 worth of cockles in the beds at any given time and pickers remove them by the lorry-load for export to Spain and other European countries, he said.
My father and uncle are both working the estuary with me - I don't know anything but cockles.
But the late emergence of young cockles means they will open on September 21 to provide the 53 licensed cocklers with two months of work.
He said the cockle-pickers are calling for the outright ban to be revoked and replaced with a catch limitation of around a third of the cockles instead.