Striped venus clam

Shells from George Montagu’s collection.

Montagu in describing Venus laminosa noted that he found the group of Venus cancellata difficult. He described Venus laminosa in 1808 (pp. 38–40) linking it with Venus cancellata and using a shell from the Laskey cabinet from the Firth of Forth as the basis. Jeffreys (1863, p. 346) gives it as a var. of Venus gallina and from then on the name disappears from the literature and is not in MolluscaBase or CLEMAM.

In RAMM there are 3 lots marked as new on the labels but in the register two of these lots are identified as Venus gallina var laminosa.

These shells are certainly Chamelea gallina (striatula) but their status as types is doubtful as the type was in the Laskey cabinet. The description is of a wholly white shell with four teeth in each valve and this does not agree with the RAMM shells. Montagu stated that he had a single shell from Devonshire but was about half the size.

In January 2020 the Montagu Collection was awarded Designated status by Arts Council England. This mark of distinction recognises the collection’s international significance to the scientific community - it is the most intact and taxonomically important collection of British shells of the early 19th century (1800-1816) to be found anywhere in the UK.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Common Name
striped venus clam
Simple Name
mollusc: shell
Full Name
VENERIDAE: Chamelea gallina [Linn]: striped venus clam
Period Classification
George III (1760-1811)
Family Group

Collector / Excavator
Montagu, Colonel George (from the collection of)
Collection Country
United Kingdom
Collection Area Region
Northern Europe
Collection Continent

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