Great Scallop

Pecten maximus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Bivalves
  3. Great Scallop


Great Scallops are found from just below the tidal zone, down to depths of more than 100 metres. A large clam-like shell, with radiating ridges and characteristic scallop 'wings' by the hinge, the Great Scallop is probably the most familiar seashell. Scallops live on sandy and gravelly seabeds, and swim by opening and closing their shells rapidly, sending out jets of water which propel them forwards.

How to identify

Also known as the 'King Scallop' or 'Common Scallop', Great Scallops are distinguished from all other scallops by their large size and symmetrical 'wings'. They are normally a pale orange colour on the outside, deep brown or maroon on the inside, and whiter near the middle.

Where to find it

Found around the south and west of the UK.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Molluscs provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Great Scallop
Latin name
Pecten maximus
Length: up to 15cm Average Lifespan: up to 20 years
Conservation status