The cross-barred venus, Chione cancellata
, is a small clam belonging to family Veneridae
. The cloudy white to yellow-white shells are highly distinctive, with raised, bladelike concentric ridges superimposed on strong radial ribs and giving the shells their characteristic cancellate (crisscrossed) appearance. Zigzag purplish brown patterns are often present and the interior of the shell usually has some purple (Rothchild 2004, Abbot and Morris 1995).Stanley (1981) notes that experiments have demonstrated that the raised ridges of C. cancellata
shells hinder burrowing, but reduce scour of sand from around the shells of partly exposed animals.Some authorities recognize two distinct subspecies, Chione cancellata cancellata
and Chione cancellata mazycki
. Additionally, Roopnarine and Vermeij (2000) suggest specimens occurring along the eastern United States and Central America south to Belize are a separate species, Chione elevata
, based on morphometric analysis.