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Posted: Dec 23 2008

 Phacoides pectinatus (Gmelin, 1791), Thick Lucina

Those of you familiar with this species may note that I have used the masculine "pectinatus" rather than the commonly used feminine "pectinata." Apparently, upon reviewing my presentations of P. pectinata and Lucina pensylvanica, Harry Lee decided to "[polish] up the nomenclatorial history of these two lucinids." In doing so there was a bit of email correspondence between Harry Lee and others to which I was not privy, but which centered around "the determination of the gender of the lucinid genus Phacoides Agassiz, 1846." The result of Harry's extensive background review was the conclusion that Phacoides was a valid genus name and that according to the rules of the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature, should be treated as masculine. Harry's findings are persuasive, and so, I have adopted the masculine nomenclature "pectinatus."

For the details of Harry's findings see the posting** below the presentation and location comments.

Harry Lee, among the foremost experts on Florida mollusks and much sought shell show judge, graciously reviews many of my presentations before posted. Upon reviewing this presentation on 12/20/2008, Harry commented:

"We have it from Cedar Key. Jim Keeler (in litt. 30 June, 1988) took it in the St. Marks to Appalachicola (FL) zone. It appears to be scarce in the FL Panhandle as the Brunners (1997) didn't list it among the 497 species (as of 1 May, 1997)*. Emilio Garcia has it from LA (I vetted this oeuvre). Jean Andrews has it from TX. Vokes and Vokes (1984) have it from the Yucatan. There are many West Indian records.

We have never seen it in NE FL.

*[Brunner, J. and L. Brunner], 1997. Northwest Florida species list. [Special Publication of the Gulf Coast Shell Club]: 1-7. Mailed 22 May."

In email correspondence on 12/23/2008 related to discussion of Stewartia floridana
Linda Brunner commented that:

"Phacoides pectinata is found infrequently in St. Andrews Sound (Bay County on Florida's panhandle) after storms and occasionally at Crooked Island after a blow."

Tue 12/23/2008 9:07 PM
Andy Borgia reported:

"I found a single valve of P. pectinata at tideline at Chokoloskee (SW Everglades) this past January."

Wed 12/24/2008 8:53 AM
Doug Shelton, Malacologist Alabama Malacological Research Center wrote:

"We do occasionally get Phacoides pectinata from offshore waters off Pensacola, all of Alabama and Mississippi. I am unaware of any nearshore records of the species here."

Sun 12/28/2008 6:28 PM
Trish Hartmann, author of Bivalve Seashells of Florida 2006, reported:

"I have collected heavily on the west coast of Florida, as you know, but have never found even a single washed-up valve of Phacoides pectinata here. I have collected it only at Bocas del Toro, on the Caribbean side of Panama. The specimen in the photograph in my bivalve book is from Biscayne Bay, collected by Bob Lipe.

3/18/16, Rusty:  Seem to be uncommon treasure coast. Much thicker, among the thickest shells of lucines, with some shells areas almost as thick as much bigger quahogs. Compare to Pennsylvanian lucine it is much thicker and smoother to the feel.

**From: Harry G. Lee
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 
Subject: Phacoides

My initial and primary interest in this problem is the determination of the gender of the lucinid genus Phacoides Agassiz, 1846.

Here are the facts the way I see them:

Blainville (1824: 540) introduced the vernacular name "les Phacoides" with the only species listed as Lucina jamaicensis, and made reference to a set of figures depicting a single species: (Bruguière, 1797. Encycl. Meth., pl. 284, figs. 2 a,b,c.). These same figures were cited as an indication in the original description of Lucina jamaicensis Lamarck, 1801.

Agassiz (1846: Mollusca: 67) latinized Phacoides and gave the indication: "Blainv. Dict Sci. nat. XXXII, 1824." [accessed @ on p. 985] and added "[Greek word] lens [Greek word] adspectus," which is gender neutral meaning "lens looking" or "lens-like." I think that validates the Blainville nomen and is the first available name for the genus (mono)typified by "Venus jamaicensis."

A word about that type species: According to Dall (1903: 1363), that binomen first appeared in Chemnitz (1784; from Lister pl. 300, fig. 137; vidi) and was validated as Tellina jamaicensis Spengler, 1798. The type figures (Chemnitz , 1784: pl. 39, figs. 408, 409) depict a shell essentially identical to the above-cited Encycl. Meth. figures. There can be little doubt that Tellina pectinata Gmelin, 1791 is the same since the sole indication is the same Lister figure. Ergo, T. pectinata Gmelin, 1791 is a senior synonym of T. jamaicensis Spengler, 1798. Lamarck simply changed the genus, thereby claimed authorship of the same taxon, and added to the synonymy.

Dall (1903: 1363) treated Phacoides as masculine, and rightfully so under the provisions of Article of the International Code for Zoological Nomenclature currently in force (International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature [ICZN], 1999: 36), which reads "A compound genus-group name ending in the suffix -ites, oides, -ides, -odes, or -istes is to be treated as masculine unless its author, when establishing the name, stated that it had another gender or treated it as such by combining it with an adjectival species-group name in another gender-form." The previous (third) edition of the Code (ICZN, 1985: 30) explained that words with the terminations listed above are masculine "substantivated adjectives," and did not allow any flexibility based on the original author's gender usage or implication.

Gray (1847: 195) placed Phacoides Blainville, 1825 [sic] in the synonymy of Lucina Bruguière, 1797. Attribution of Phacoides to Gray (1847) by a majority of workers including H.E. Vokes (1980) is incorrect. Gray's synonymy was correct if the type species of Lucina Bruguière were Venus jamaicensis as we've defined, but see below.

Thus I am compelled to point out that the proper name of the Thick Lucine is Phacoides pectinatus (Gmelin, 1791), not L. pectinata as it is rendered in most recent works.

The question of the type species of Lucina Bruguière, 1797 had been cussed and discussed for a century and a half (basically Venus pensylvanica Linnaeus, 1758 vs. Tellina pectinata Gmelin, 1791; see, in particular Stewart [of Stewartia fame], 1930), so Keen (1972) petitioned the ICZN for clarification. That august body responded definitively, albeit with its customary delay, with Opinion 1095 (ICZN, 1977; see appendix). With that settled, Phacoides Agassiz, 1846 was released from the cloud of synonymy with Lucina, and it was resurrected with its type species Venus jamaicensis Chemnitz, 1784 (= Tellina pectinata Gmelin, 1791) So, Marlo can have Phacoides pectinatus and Lucina pensylvanica on his nonpareil [A thing that has no equal. Is that a compliment?] website.


Agassiz, L., 1842-1846. Nomenclator zoologicus, continens nomina systematica generum animalium tam viventium quam fossilium. Secundum ordinem alphabeticum disposita, adjectis auctoribus, libris, in quibus reperiuntur, anno editionis, etymologia et familis, ad quas pertinent, in singulis classibus. Jent and Gassmann, Solduri. pp. about 900 in multiple pagination. [relevant passage accessed @ on p. 985]

Blainville, H.M.D. de, 1824. Dict. des Sci. Nat., 32: 334 [not seen]

Chemnitz, J.H., 1784. Neues systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet 7 [not seen; but see Richardson et. al, 1979]

Dall, W.H., 1903. Contributions to the Tertiary fauna of Florida with especial reference to the silex beds of Tampa and the Pliocene beds of the Caloosahatchie River including in many cases complete review of the generic groups treated of and their American Tertiary species. Part 6. pulmonate, opisthobranchiate, and orthodont gastropods. Transactions of the Wagner Free Institute 3(6): xiv + 1219-1654 + pls. 48-60. Oct.

Gray, J.E. 1847. A list of the genera of recent Mollusca, their synonyma and types. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 15: 129-219. [not seen]

ICZN, 1977. Opinion 1095. Designation plenary powers Venus pensylvanica Linnaeus, 1758, type-species Lucina Bruguière, 1797 (Mollusca, Bivalvia). Bull. Zool. Nomencl. 34: ?p. Nov. 8. (see below)

ICZN, 1985. International code of zoological nomenclature. Third edition. I.C.Z.N., London. xx + pp. 1-338. Feb.

ICZN, 1999. International code of zoological nomenclature. Fourth edition. I.C.Z.N., London. xxix + pp. 1-306.

Keen, A.M., 1972. Problem of the type species of Lucina (Mollusca: Pelecypoda). Z.N.(S.) 2001. Bull. Zool. Nomencl. 29(3):158-161. Nov. [not seen]

Richardson, L., R. T. Abbott, G. M. Davis [eds.], 1979. Early references to the figures in the Conchylien Cabinet of Martini and Chemnitz: volumes I - XII. Tryonia 2, parts 1, 2: 427 pp., 432 pls., 70 vigns. August 1.

Stewart, R.B., 1930. Gabb's California and Tertiary type lamellibranchs. Special publication of the ANSP no. 3: (1)-314 + pls. 1-17. [available on-line].

Vokes, H.E., 1980. Genera of the Bivalvia: A systematic and bibliographic catalogue (revised and updated). Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, NY. xxviii + 1-307.

ICZN Opinion 1095 (1977):

Lucina Bruguière, 1797, Encyclopédie méthodique, Histoire naturelle des vers, coquilles, mollusques et polypiers, pis. [sic] 284-286 (gender : feminine) (type species, by designation under the plenary powers: Venus
pensylvanica Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat. (ed. 10) 1 : 688)(Bivalvia) 0.1095.

I acknowledge the help of Dick Petit with locating the text of the Blainville and Agassiz works.

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