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a family of bivalve mollusks. The shell, which measures as much as 10–12 cm in length, does not enclose the entire body. It lacks a hinge and ligament, its valves being joined only by muscles. The valves are often supplemented by plates. The anterior parts of the valves are covered with denticles that resemble the teeth of a file.
The family comprises approximately 30 genera, which are widely distributed in the world’s oceans. The seas of the USSR have approximately ten species, including Pholas dactylus in the Black Sea and Zirfaea crispata and Penitella penita in Far Eastern seas. Together with other marine organisms, the Pholadidae comprise the group of stone borers. They live in burrows, which they dig with the denticles of their shells in dense slime, marl, limestone, or coral. They occasionally bore into wood and may damage port structures.