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The shell of Solemya exhibits considerable flexibility which is further enhanced by the marked extension of the periostracum beyond the calcareous portions of the valves. This fcature, more than any other, has made possible the habit, unique among bivalves, of burrowing deep within the substrate without direct contact with the water above. The inner calcareous layer of tho valves is restricted to a small area near the umbones while the outer calcareous layer is thin and contains a high proportion of organic material. The shell conchiolin consists mainly of protein, varying in composition, but much of it strengthcned by quinone-tanning, and in ccrtain regions probably by the presence of appreciable quantities of chitin. The ligament, although superficially resembling an amphidetic structure, is opisthodetic, the extcnsion anterior to the umbones consisting of anterior outer layer only.

The mantle is characterized by an extension of the outer fold of the mantle margin which has effected equally both the inner and outer surfaces of this fold. The secretory epithelium and the modified pallial musculature, contraction of which results in the intucking and plaiting of the periostracum, is dcscribed. Simple tubular oil glands open at the mantlo margin and are responsible for the water-repellent nature of the periostracum.

The form of the mantlelshell and that of the enclosed body are discussed and compared with those of other bivalves in which elongation of the mantle/shell is achieved in a different way. It is concluded that the mantlelshell of Solemya is of little value in determining its relationships, and that the greatly elongatod ligament, the edentulous hinge and the flexible shell are all adaptations to a specialized mode of life.