Who finds Pinna nobilis finds a treasure!

In collaboration with Outbe e Fondazione IMC

It is becoming increasingly difficult to observe still-living individuals of Pinna nobilis, the largest endemic bivalve in the Mediterranean Sea . This species, now considered ‘critically endangered’ and included in the IUCN Red List, is threatened by disease, caused by the combined action of micro-organisms, including protozoa and bacteria. In recent years, this has led to unprecedented mortality of P. nobilis, drastically reducing its population on a Mediterranean basin scale. The LIFE Pinna project aims to counter this phenomenon and safeguard the species from extinction.
Finding surviving healthy individuals of Pinna nobilis is essential to protect them and to study their genetic and ecological adaptability. To succeed in this endeavour, everyone’s help is needed: not only scientists but also divers, yachtsmen and anyone who loves the sea and its biodiversity. These large molluscs are now rare along our coasts, and every report of live individuals is valuable and helps to increase the species’ chances of survival.
Your entries will be verified by LIFE Pinna scientists and for those that prove to be the most significant, there will be prizes in the form of books, gadgets and the opportunity to visit the research laboratories involved in the project. It is therefore a real treasure hunt.

How to report Pinna nobilis

By filling out the form below you can report a new sighting, but first, it is important to check a couple of things. It is always advisable to take a photo or video. If possible, take the photo from above so that you can see the animal inside, so that LIFE Pinna experts can validate the sighting.

1. Do not confuse Pinna nobilis with its sister species Pinna rudis and Atrina fragilis

The distinctive features are as follows:

    • Size: Pinna nobilis is larger than Pinna rudis, which usually stays under 40 cm
    • Preferred substrate:Pinna nobilis is most commonly found on sandy bottoms and is embedded in the sediment for about 1/3 of the shell length (i.e. it protrudes more from the substrate); Pinna rudis is most commonly found between boulders or in rock crevices; Atrina fragilis is most commonly found on sandy-muddy bottoms and is embedded in the sediment for 2/3 of the shell length
    • Shell characteristics: juvenile Pinna nobilis juveniles have no ribs and have outgrowths scattered randomly over the entire surface of the shell; Pinna rudis shells are thicker and have 5 to 10 radial ribs (arranged along the major axis of the shell) with large outgrowths on them; Atrina fragilis has a very thin, yellow-brown shell and may have outgrowths on the upper edge of the shell when young
    • Mantle: The edge of the mantle is usually pink in Pinna nobilis, white and iridescent in Pinna rudis and bright green in A. fragilis
Pinna nobilis, Marco Colombo’s photos
Pinna nobilis,  Marco Colombo’s photos
Atrina fragilis, Saul Ciriaco’s photos

2. We are looking for live individuals of Pinna nobilis

Most of the individuals of Pinna nobilis that can be observed on our seabeds today are unfortunately dead. Often the large valves remain to lie on the bottom, but it is possible to see them in an upright position, fixed in the substrate, even in deceased individuals.

To check the viability of the organism, one only has to get close and gently brush the valves: in still-living Pinna nobilis, they should instinctively close.

Please note: dead Pinna nobilis individuals should not be taken, as their possession is illegal.

Form to fill out

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We need your e-mail to receive your data and to contact you again in case we need to. It will also be useful for receiving the prizes that will be awarded to the most valuable submissions.
The location may also be generic. E.g.: Camogli, Portofino Protected Marine Area.
The coordinates are important. You can directly copy them from your mobile phone
In the notes, you can add any other interesting information, such as the type of seabed. The more details, the better.
Data are recorded and maintained by Triton Research, which shares them with project partners