Razor Shell

Ensis arcuatus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Bivalves
  3. Razor Shell


Razor Shells are very recognisable with their long, narrow, rectangular clam shells. They live buried upright in soft sand around the low tide mark and beyond, with their siphons just at the surface, filter feeding on plankton and detritus. After storms they are sometimes washed up in enormous 'wrecks'.

How to identify

There are several very similar species of Razor Shell, although as a group they are unmistakeable. They are brownish in colour, with pale worn patches near the hinge.

Where to find it

Found all around our coasts.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Molluscs provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

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Species information

Common name
Razor Shell
Latin name
Ensis arcuatus
Length: up to 20cm
Conservation status