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 Spondylus gaederopus

 Family: SPONDYLIDAE

 

 

These two pics were shot at about seventeen meters (17 m) depth at a typical Mediterranean reef at Megas Gyalos (Syros island, Cyclades – Greece) on August 2003. Stefanos Xenakis took both photos – of the yet unidentified animals – during one of his scuba diving attempts.

Since we were not able to identify this bivalve so we turned to two of the most knowledgeable persons we know: Alexandros Frantzis and Peter Nicolaides for more help. We hope that they both find the time to get on board soon – they will help us to improve the Mediterranean section a lot.

Regarding this bivalve which grows on hard substrates (odd, it seems to be surrounded by Posidonia but I am certain there is a rock under there !) it is none other than the famous Spondylus gaederopus (donkeyfoot!), great to eat (commonly known in Greece as "streidhi" or "gaidhouropodharo")) but takes many years to grow. Famous because it is also found on our mountains as a fossil or when landmass was pushed out of the sea, found in graves too and was used in antiquity as currency. Even more interesting is the fact that in England, people still use the expression "spondulies" for money, bucks, dow, fric,fraga etc. Last summer I had this couple from the North of England who said.."luvely experience this divin' but we want to settle, we owe you some ...spondulies (spondiouleez) ! "I expect this must have lived on since Roman times. This is an interesting symbiosis of a mollusc which is often (or always?) covered by the same species of sponge (Crambe crambe). It is getting rarer and rarer but I have noticed that the individuals that are not covered by that bright red, velvety encrusting sponge (easy to find in any key) are not ..selected against as they are rather hard to spot. The ones with that red cover tend to stick out and therefore promptly picked up by divers. Kalymnos divers have mostly decimated them.

Photos: Stefanos Xenakis/MCH (August 2003)

Αυτές τις δύο φωτο «τράβηξε» σε βάθος δέκα επτά περίπου μέτρων (17 m), σε τυπικό Μεσογειακό ύφαλο, στην τοποθεσία Μέγας Γιαλός  (Σύρος, Κυκλάδες), τον Αύγουστο του 2003, ο Στέφανος Ξενάκης, κατά τη διάρκεια ελεύθερης κατάδυσης. Τα ζώα του είδους δεν τα έχουμε ακόμη αναγνωρίσει.

Κοινή ονομασία αυτών των ζώων στη Σύρο: «καλόγνωμη» (η)

φωτο: Στέφανος Ξενάκης/MCH (Αύγουστος 2003)

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