Variegated scallop

Variegated scallop

Variegated scallop ©Emily Baxter

Variegated scallop

Scientific name: Chlamys varia
The shells of this small scallop are often found washed up on our shores and comes in lots of different colours, including pink, red, orange and purple.!

Species information


Length: up to 6cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Variegated scallops are found from just below the tidal zone down to depths of 80 metres. They are usually found on rocky seabeds, sometimes attached by byssus threads or hiding inside a kelp's holdfast. Their shells are highly ribbed, with 25-35 radiating ridges and are often covered with pretty patterns.

How to identify

There are various species of scallop, which can be hard to tell apart. This is the most likely to be found washed up on the beach. Its colour is very variable: white, pink, red, orange, yellow or purple, sometimes with pretty patterns on the shell.


Found all around UK coasts.

Did you know?

In common with many other shellfish, the Variegated scallop starts life off as a male and changes sex several times during its lifetime.

How people can help

Although this isn't the species of Scallop on the menu, they are often accidentally caught in bottom-towed fishing gear. Choose diver-caught Scallops and sustainably fished seafood to avoid such damage to our fragile seabed ecosystems. For more information on making good seafood choices, check out Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Cornwall Good Seafood Guide: 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 checking out our Action pages.