The shell of the chequered carpet shell is broadly oval or square in shape and is cream, yellowish, or light brown in colour, often with darker markings. The sculpture of the shell consists of concentric grooves and bold radiating ridges. There are quite distinct criss-cross (decussate) markings present posteriorly. When the valves are closed, below the beak there is a shallow, not particularly distinct, heart-shaped depression with light and dark brown fine radiating ridges. The beaks of one half of the valve are broadly oval in outline, with the line descending from the beak sharply curved; whilst the other side of the beak gradually curves. It can grow up to 7.5 cm in length. Each valve has three teeth, one on the left and two on the right which are bifid. The inside of the shell is polished white with an orange tint, occasionally with purple over a wide area below the umbones. The pallial line is u-shaped but does not extend beyond the mid-line of the shell.The chequered carpet shell is superficially similar in shape and size to the Manila clam Tapes philippinarum
and to Venerupis senegalensis
. The chequered carpet shell is distinguishable from the Manila clam by its very distinct radiating lines present on the shell and white foot, Tapes philippinarum
is distinguishable by the distinctive black and white markings and orange foot. Venerupis senegalensis
often has zigzag markings on the shell.