Depth range based on 2 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 3.5 - 15
  Temperature range (°C): 17.140 - 17.140
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.211 - 0.211
  Salinity (PPS): 37.926 - 37.926
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.513 - 5.513
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.131 - 0.131
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.247 - 1.247

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 3.5 - 15
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Spondylus gaederopus

Spondylus gaederopus, common name European thorny oyster, is an edible marine bivalve molluscs in the family Spondylidae. This species occurs in the Black Sea, in the Mediterranean and in the adjacent Atlantic.

Fossils of the genus Spondylus are present from the Jurassic period to recent age, while the species Spondylus gaederopus is present from Miocene (from about 23 to 5.3 mya) to recent age.


Spondylus gaederopus have a shell reaching a length of 60–125 millimetres (2.4–4.9 in), covered with long, flat and irregularly arranged spines; the upper valve is usually purple, the lower white.

They live in shallow water and on the rocky seabed at a depth of about 50 m. The colonies of this very common mollusc declined in the early 1980s for unknown reasons.

Use in archeology[edit]

Archaeological evidence shows that people in Neolithic Europe were trading the shells of Spondylus gaederopus to make bangles and other ornaments as long as 5,000 years ago (evidence from the Varna necropolis). The shells were harvested from the Aegean Sea, but were transported far into the centre of the continent.

A specimen of Spondylus gaederopus was discovered in the Cueva de los Aviones, a limestone cave on the edge of Cartagena in Spain. On the inside of the 50,000 year old shell there were residues of pigment from hematite, which, together with other finds of pigments in the cave, have been interpreted as the first evidence of colored jewelry from Neanderthals in Europe.



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