Wild Harris

Razor Shell

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Razor shell There are several different species of razor shell or razorfish found on Harris shores. They are particularly common on sandy shores. They stand vertically in the sand, extending their syphons from the gap between the shells at the top. The gap at the bottom of the shell allows its digging muscle to extend down into the sand. When disturbed the razorfish can burrow downwards very rapidly, and can be quite difficult to catch. Since razorfish do not normally come out of the sand, their shells do not need to fit together to make a perfect seal to protect against drying out or predators, unlike cockles and mussels. Razorfish are also common on sandy seabeds below the tide.

razor.jpgEmpty Razor Shell    (Photo: Paul Tyler)

The shape of this animal is similar to an old fashioned cut-throat razor, which is how it got its name.

razor shells.jpgHinged Razor Shell    (Photo: Paul Tyler)

The razor shells are joined by hinges along one side. When alive the gaps at each end allow the animal to feed and to burrow through the sand.

ensis siphons.jpgFeeding Razor Shell    (Photo: Paul Tyler)

This is how razor shells look when feeding under water - all that's visible is the tips of the 2 siphons - one to suck water in, the other to exhale.

by Paul Tyler

Link to Sand and Mud Shore Animals

Link to Soft Seabed Animals