Mercenaria mercenaria (Linnaeus, 1758) Northern Quahog

    This 58 mm. unusually patterned specimen was found in the low water wrack line at Mayport Naval Station beach during a minus tide on 8/9/2007. Three additional Mercenaria of similar size with normal coloration were found in the immediate area. Considering the rarity of this species on the open Atlantic beaches of northeast Florida along with the unusual pattern, it is likely that all four specimens are the result of mariculture, were purchased by a fisherman and transported to the beach to be used as bait, with the shells ultimately discarded. It is not unprecedented to find cast off shells from anglers in areas where fishing is popular. At one location (Vilano Beach fishing pier in St. Johns County) this reporter has found three different species of freshwater bivalves.

Mercenaria mercenaria (Linnaeus, 1758) Northern Quahog Unusual Pattern