European fingernail clam - Sphaerium corneum


Size: 9-11 mm across. This small freshwater bivalve mollusc is broadly oval and fairly globular with a central umbo. The colour of the shell is usually a brown to grey with the juveniles being more yellow colour. The surface is silky with very fine, irregular concentric growth ridges.

Identification difficulty

These small clams are found in shallow, freshwater habitats with slow moving waters, including freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers.

When to see it

All year round.

Life History

It is mainly a filter feeder and thus prefers healthy waters with good nutrition that provide a greater food source. These clams have exhibited a unique ability to climb up plants and structures around their habitat to find more optimal locations for feeding.

UK Status

Common and widespread

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map