Thin tellin

Thin tellin

Thin tellin ©Emily Baxter

Thin tellin

Scientific name: Macomangulus tenuis
Their empty, delicate pink or yellow shells can often be found washed up on beaches, but the animals themselves live buried in the sand all around the coasts of the UK.

Species information


Length: 2-3cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


A small clam-like shell, the Thin tellin is oval, smooth and delicate. It is found in fine sand from the middle of the shore and on the seabed in shallow coastal waters, where it buries itself up to 12 cm deep. At the low tide mark, huge densities of Thin tellins can be found hidden in the sand - up to 3000 per square meter! It is a filter feeder, extracting organic matter from the water using its long siphon which it extends to the surface of the sand.

How to identify

An easily recognised seashell, the Thin tellin is very pretty, coming in various shades of pink and yellow. The shell is roughly triangular with a long rounded edge and obvious growth bands.


Found on sandy shores all round our coasts.

Did you know?

Sometimes the siphon tip gets nibbled off by a hungry flatfish, but the Thin tellin can simply regrow a new one!

How people can 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. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or by checking out our Action pages.