MolluscIreland - land and freshwater
  • Corbicula fluminea (O. F. Müller 1774) Asian clam
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Corbicula fluminea
© Dr Roy Anderson
Corbicula fluminea
© Dr Roy Anderson

Map hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Waterford
To view the species profile on Biodiversity Maps and access the live map, please click on the map.


This is a medium-sized, solid, bivalve shell, sometimes called the golden clam within the aquarium trade. Shell size up to 2.5 cm, characterised by a tumid, broadly triangular shape, by a series of strong concentric ribs on the shell and by having a glossy yellow-green periostracum. An alien introduction in Ireland.

Key characteristics

  • Broadly triangular, tumid bivalve shell, up to 2.5 cm in breadth
  • Ornamented by broad, concentric, relatively strong ribs
  • Periostracum yellow-brown to yellow-green, fairly glossy
  • With a prominent external ligament


To about 2.5 cm.

World Distribution

Has a broad native distribution in the east Palaearctic and south-east Asia. Brought to North America in the early 20th century by immigrants who used it as a food source. First found in the Rhine in the late 1980s but now widespread in west and central Europe and still spreading.

GBIF distribution map [open in new tab]

Irish Distribution

First recorded in Britain (East Anglia) in October 1998, then detected within the Barrow Navigation in south-east Ireland in April 2010 by Dr. Pascal Sweeney. Likely to spread rapidly and cause similar sorts of problems to those experienced after the spread of the alien zebra mussel.


  • As far as is known, it prefers lowland rivers with gravel or sand bottoms rather than those of mud
  • Can live in very shallow to quite deep water
  • Like the zebra mussel produces quantities of pseudofaeces which can change the ecology of river basins


There has been controversy about the number of species within Corbicula in Europe. Most commentators regard all morphotypes recorded in Europe as belonging to one species, C. fluminea.

Red List status

  • Not applicable.

Wikipedia link

Wikipedia page for Corbicula fluminea

 Anderson, R., (2016). Corbicula fluminea (O. F. Müller 1774). [In] MolluscIreland. Accessed on 2024-03-02.