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Bivalvia cephalopoda l.jpg
Bivalvia & Cephalopoda

Welcometo the home of Bivalvia and Cephalopoda. My name is Tim Dillavou and these pages are devoted to giving some background information on bivalves and cephalopods. They will also give some more detailed information on a few species I encountered during a marine ecology class at University of Washington-Tacoma during the spring of 2007.

Webpage created by Timothy Dillavou on 05-23-2007

Bivalvia l.jpg

Kingdom: animalia

Phylum: mollusca

Class: Bivalvia


  • Bivalve refers to having a shell with two halves or valves.

  • All bivalves have rigid shells to provide support for their soft bodies. 

  • Bivalvia is the only molluscan class characterized by the absence of a radula.

  • Live:

  • Marine or freshwater

  • In or on top of sediment (epifaunal or infaunal)

  • Life span varies

  • Size 2mm to over 4 feet (giant clam of the south pacific)


  • Most are filter feeders defined by a gill structure

  • Some are scavengers or predators

  • consume phytoplankton and other tiny organic matter that flows through their gills. 

  • gills function both in respiration and in straining out food particles.

  • mussels can filter 10-15 gallons of water per day.


  • muscular "foot" used for burrowing, or swimming (razor clams)

  • some use foot (byssal threads) for attaching to attaching to substrate (blue mussels)


  • externally when eggs and sperm are released into water

  • female may spawn millions of eggs in her lifetime. 


  • In many bivalves, the mantle margin has a sensory function and often possesses rows of parallel tentacles with tactile and chemosensory cells. In some species, the siphon tips may also possess such tentacles.

Tresus nuttalli

(pacific gaper)

Crassostrea gigas

(Japanese oyster)

Species encountered bivalves l.jpg
Species Encountered(Bivalves)


Chlamys rubida pacific pink scallop l.jpg
Chlamys rubida(Pacific pink scallop)


  • prominent ribs on each valve

  • grows to about 6 -7 cm long.

  • swim when threatened

  • many eyes around the outside, which perceive light and direction. 

  • One side of shell is covered with a symbiotic sponge. 

    Geographical Range:

  • Alaska to San Diego, CA; uncommon S of Puget Sound.

    Depth Range:

  • low intertidal to 300 m; mainly subtidal


  • rocky or gravel/mud bottoms.

    Life span:

  • up to 6 years. 


  • externally when eggs and sperm are released into water

    Humans uses:

  • harvested by recreational & commercial fishermen because highly desirable seafood.

Photos by Hannah Julich, May 2007


Mytilus californianus california sea mussel l.jpg
Mytilus californianus(California sea mussel)


  • color: bluish/ black, concentric growth lines

  • shell to about 8 inches long

    Geographical range:

  • Alaska to southern Baja California

    Depth Range:

  • mainly in intertidal zone on outer coast


  • Abundant, on surf-exposed rocks and pier pilings in colonies for protection


  • Filter feeder, prefer to eat fine organic material and plankton

    Life span:

  • 10-100 years


  • Male releases sperm into water and enters female when water is siphoned over gills

Photo by Dave Cowles, Little Corona del Mar, CA March 2005

Photos by Bonnie Becker 2007


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Kingdom: animalia

Phylum: mollusca

Class: cephalopoda

Two subclasses:

  • Coleoidea: squid, cuttlefish, and octopus

  • Nautiloidea: nautiluses


  • A funnel derived from the molluscan foot, circumoral arms that are probably derived from the molluscan head, chitinous beaks


  • all marine, In all seas at all depths, Octopuses are solitary living in cracks and crevices but squid have been known to swim in large groups

    Life span:

  • 1-3 years (except for nautilus up to 15 yrs)


  • carnivores: crustaceans, fish, gastropod molluscs


  • gills


  • walk with use of tentacles (octopus), lateral fins to swim (cuttlefish), jet propulsion (squids almost use exclusively)


  • Octopus- absent, squid- pen, cuttlefish- cuttlebone, nautilus- external


  • Coleoidea - lay hundreds to half a million eggs, Octopus-male typically dies after mating and female dies after guarding eggs

  • Nautiloidea- lays a few eggs each year


  • eyes similar to humans (except for nautilus), touch, storage of chemical info for taste and texture

    Special notes:

  • change color, texture, and shape, very intelligent


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Species Encountered(Cephalopods)

Enteroctopus doflieni giant pacific octopus l.jpg
Enteroctopusdoflieni(giant Pacific Octopus)


  • largest species in the world, up to 400 lbs and 25 feet arm span

    Geographical range:

  • Pacific ocean

  • common in Puget Sound

    Depth Range:

  • intertidal to 750 m


  • rocky crevices


  • crustaceans, mollusks, fish

    Life span:

  • 3-5 years


  • female lays between 20,000 to 100,000 eggs and tends the eggs until hatched and then dies

    Human uses:

  • food, display in aquariums, and for use as bait in other fisheries

Picture by Bonnie Becker, 2007


Picture by Greg Gilbert The Seattle Times, 2003

References l.jpg

  • The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences website accessed on 03-31-2007

  • State of Washington website accessed on 04-02-2007

  • Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences website accessed on 04-03-2007

  • Smithsonian National Zoological Park website accessed on 04-03-2007

  • State University of New York College at Cortland website accessed on 03-31-2007

  • University of Michigan Museum of Zoology website accessed on 04-04-2006

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa website accessed on 04-04-2007

  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography website accessed on 04-04-2007