BIOTIC Species Information for Ensis spp.
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameEnsis spp. Common nameRazor shell
MCS Code Recent Synonyms

PhylumMollusca Subphylum
Superclass ClassBivalvia
Subclass OrderVeneroida
Suborder FamilyPharidae
GenusEnsis Species

Additional Information
Taxonomy References Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Howlett, 1990, JNCC, 1999,
General Biology
Growth form Feeding method
Mobility/Movement Environmental positionInfaunal
Typical food types Habit
Bioturbator Flexibility
Fragility SizeMedium(11-20 cm)
Height Growth Rate
Adult dispersal potential Dependency
General Biology Additional Information
Biology References Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Henderson & Richardson, 1994, Robinson & Richardson, 1998, Armonies & Reise, 1999, Hayward & Ryland, 1990,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandAll Great British coast
Global distribution
Biogeographic range Depth range
Distribution Additional Information

Substratum preferences Physiographic preferences
Biological zone Wave exposure
Tidal stream strength/Water flow Salinity
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Holme, 1954, Henderson & Richardson, 1994, Armonies & Reise, 1999, Hayward & Ryland, 1990,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive type Developmental mechanismPlanktotrophic
Reproductive Season Reproductive Location
Reproductive frequency Regeneration potential No
Life span11-20 years Age at reproductive maturity3-5 years
Generation time Fecundity>1 million
Egg/propagule size70 mm diameter Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential Larval settlement period
Duration of larval stage30 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationEnsis is a highly diverse genus in terms of life-history traits. Ensis macha is thought to produce 14.7 - 19.6 million eggs over it's lifetime. Ensis ensis reaches sexual maturity at 3-4 years, while Ensis siliqua takes only 1 year.
Reproduction References Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Henderson & Richardson, 1994, Armonies & Reise, 1999, Avellanal et al., 2002, Gaspar & Monteiro, 1998, Fahy & Gaffney, 2001, Newell & Newell, 1977, Palmer, 2004,
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