Cockle (bivalve)

A cockle is an edible, marine bivalve mollusc. Although many small edible bivalves are loosely called cockles, true cockles are species in the family Cardiidae. True cockles live in sandy, sheltered beaches throughout the world. The distinctive rounded shells are bilaterally symmetrical, and are heart-shaped when viewed from the end. Numerous radial, evenly spaced ribs are a feature of the shell in most but not all genera (for an exception, see the genus Laevicardium, the egg cockles, which have very smooth shells).

The shell of a cockle is able to close completely (i.e., there is no "gape" at any point around the edge). Though the shell of a cockle may superficially resemble that of a scallop because of the ribs, cockles can be distinguished from scallops morphologically in that cockle shells lack "auricles" (triangular ear-shaped protrusions near the hinge line) and scallop shells lack a pallial sinus. Behaviorally, cockles live buried in sediment, whereas scallops either are free-living and will swim in the sea water to avoid a predator, or in some cases live attached by a byssus to a substrate.

The mantle has three apertures (inhalant, exhalant, and pedal) for siphoning water and for the foot to protrude. Cockles typically burrow using the foot, and feed by filtering plankton from the surrounding water. Cockles are capable of "jumping" by bending and straightening the foot. As is the case in many bivalves, cockles display gonochorism (the sex of an individual varies according to conditions),[2] and some species reach maturity rapidly.

The common name "cockle" is also given by seafood sellers to a number of other small, edible marine bivalves which have a somewhat similar shape and sculpture, but are in other families such as the Veneridae (Venus clams) and the ark clams (Arcidae). Cockles in the family Cardiidae are sometimes referred to as "true cockles" to distinguish them from these other species.

Temporal range: Late Triassic – Present[1]
Coque blanche (Cerastoderma edule)
Live specimens of Cerastoderma edule from France
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Heterodonta
Order: Cardiida
Superfamily: Cardioidea
Family: Cardiidae
Lamarck, 1809
  • Cardiinae
  • Clinocardiinae
  • Fraginae
  • Laevicardiinae
  • Lahilliinae
  • Lymnocardiinae
  • Orthocardiinae
  • Protocardiinae
  • Trachycardiinae
  • Tridacninae



There are more than 205 living species of cockles, with many more fossil forms.[3]

The common cockle, Cerastoderma edule, is widely distributed around the coastlines of Northern Europe, with a range extending west to Ireland, the Barents Sea in the north, Norway in the east, and as far south as Senegal.

The dog cockle, Glycymeris glycymeris, has a similar range and habitat to the common cockle, but is not at all closely related, being in the family Glycymerididae. The dog cockle is edible, but due to its toughness when cooked it is generally not eaten, although a process is being developed to solve this problem.[4]

The blood cockle, Tegillarca granosa (not related to the true cockles, instead in the family Arcidae) is extensively cultured from southern Korea to Malaysia.[5]


Genera within the family Cardiidae include:

Acrosterigma cignorum 003
Acrosterigma cignorum
Ctenocardia fornicata 002
Ctenocardia fornicata
Ctenocardia virgo 003
Ctenocardia virgo
Trachycardium maculosum 002
Trachycardium maculosum
Fossil Shells in Cardium Formation

Fossil Cardiidae shells (Late Cretaceous, Alberta, Canada).

Vasticardium berschaueri 001

Vasticardium berschaueri

In cuisine and culture

Cockles are a popular type of edible shellfish in both Eastern and Western cooking. They are collected by raking them from the sands at low tide. However, collecting cockles is hard work and, as seen from the Morecambe Bay disaster, in which 23 people died, can be dangerous if local tidal conditions are not carefully watched. In England and Wales, people are permitted to collect 5 kg of cockles for personal use. However, pickers wishing to collect more than this are deemed to be engaging in commercial fishing and are required to obtain a permit from the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority.[6]

Cockles are a street food in Cambodia.[7]

Cockles are sold freshly cooked as a snack in the United Kingdom, particularly in those parts of the British coastline where cockles are abundant. Boiled, then seasoned with malt vinegar and white pepper, they can be bought from seafood stalls, which also often have for sale mussels, whelks, jellied eels, crabs and shrimp. Cockles are also available pickled in jars, and more recently, have been sold in sealed packets (with vinegar) containing a plastic two-pronged fork. A meal of cockles fried with bacon, served with laver bread, is known as a traditional Welsh breakfast.

Boiled cockles (sometimes grilled) are sold at many hawker centers in Southeast Asia, and are used in laksa, char kway teow and steamboat. They are called kerang in Malay and see hum in Cantonese.

In Japan, the Japanese egg cockle Leavicardium laevigatum is used to create torigai sushi.

A study conducted in England in the early 1980s showed a correlation between the consumption of cockles, presumed to be incorrectly processed, and an elevated local occurrence of hepatitis.[8]

Cockles are an effective bait for a wide variety of sea fishes. The folk song "Molly Malone" is also known as "Cockles and Mussels" because the title character's sale of the two foods is referred to in the song's refrain. The shells of cockles are mentioned in the English nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary". Cockles are also eaten by the indigenous peoples of North America.[9]


Empty cockle shell on the beach


Bags of cockles picked from Morecambe Bay


These boiled "cockles" in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore are actually ark clams in the family Arcidae

Alternative meanings

The common English phrase "it warms the cockles of my heart", is used to mean that a feeling of deep-seated contentment has been generated.

Differing derivations of this phrase have been proposed, either directly from the perceived heart-shape of a cockleshell, or indirectly (the scientific name for the type genus of the family is Cardium, from the Latin for heart), or from the Latin diminutive of the word heart, corculum. Another proposed derivation is from the Latin for the ventricles of the heart, cochleae cordis, where the second word is an inflected form of cor, heart, while cochlea is the Latin for snail.


  1. ^ SCHNEIDER, JAY A. (1995). "Phylogeny of the Cardiidae (Mollusca, Bivalvia): Protocardiinae, Laevicardiinae, Lahilliinae, Tulongocardiinae subfam. n. and Pleuriocardiinae subfam. n.". Zoologica Scripta. Wiley-Blackwell. 24 (4): 321–346. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.1995.tb00478.x. ISSN 0300-3256.
  2. ^ "Synthesis on biology of Common European Cockle (Cerastoderma edule" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  3. ^ "Cardiidae (Cockles)". Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  4. ^ {\phi_s}. "European Food Research and Technology, Volume 210, Number 1". SpringerLink. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  5. ^ "Status of mollusc culture in selected Asian countries". Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  6. ^ "Cocklers barred from Ribble estuary after coastguard checks". BBC News. 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  7. ^ Kraig, B.; Sen, C.T. (2013). Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 454. ISBN 978-1-59884-955-4. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  8. ^ O'Mahony MC, Gooch CD, Smyth DA, Thrussell AJ, Bartlett CL, Noah ND (1983). "Epidemic hepatitis A from cockles". NIH. Retrieved 2006-03-25.
  9. ^ Great Blue Heron - Robert William Butler, Robert Butler - Google Books

External links

Wikisource Cunningham, Joseph Thomas (1911). "Cockle" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). p. 627.

Balık ekmek

Balık ekmek is a common street food item in Turkish cuisine. It is a sandwich of a filet of fried or grilled fish (typically mackerel, or other similar oily fish), served along with various vegetables, inside a bun of Turkish bread. It is typically served on the Eminönü square straight from the boat on which it is prepared.

The name is a combination of the Turkish words balık (fish) and ekmek (bread).

Banana cue

A Banana cue or Banana Q (Tagalog: Banana kyu) is a popular snack food or street food in the Philippines. The "cue" in the name is an abbreviation of barbecue, which in Philippine English refers to meat cooked in a style similar to satay.

Belgian waffle

In North America, Belgian waffles are a variety of waffle with a lighter batter, larger squares, and deeper pockets than ordinary American waffles. Belgian waffles were originally leavened with yeast, but baking powder is now often used. They are often eaten as a breakfast food; toppings vary from whipped cream, confectioners sugar, soft fruit, and chocolate spread, to syrup and butter or margarine. They may also be served with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit (such as strawberries) as a dessert.

In Belgium itself, there are several kinds of waffle, including the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle.


Beondegi (번데기), literally "pupa", is a Korean street food made with silkworm pupae. It is usually sold from street vendors. The boiled or steamed snack food is served in paper cups with toothpick skewers.Canned beondegi can also be found in grocery stores and convenience stores.


Binaki (IPA: [ˈbɪ.nɑ.kiʔ]) or pintos is a type of steamed corn sweet tamales from two regions in the Philippines – Bukidnon and Bogo, Cebu. They are distinctively wrapped in corn husks and are commonly sold as pasalubong and street food in Northern Mindanao and Cebu. It is sometimes anglicized as "steamed corn cakes."

Camote cue

Camote cue or camote fritter (Tagalog: Kamote kyu) is a popular snack food in the Philippines made from camote (sweet potato). Slices of camote are coated with brown sugar and then fried to cook the potatoes and to caramelize the sugar. It is one of the most common street foods in the Philippines, along with banana cue and turon.The term is a portmanteau of "camote" and "barbecue", the latter in Philippine English refers to meat cooked in a style similar to kebabs. Though served skewered on bamboo sticks, it is not cooked on the stick. The skewer is purely for easier handling as it is usually sold on the streets to passers by.


Cockle may refer to:

Cockle (bivalve), a group of edible saltwater clams (marine molluscs)

Lolium temulentum, a tufted grass plant

Berwick cockles, a confectionery from ScotlandCockleshellThe Mark II canoes used in Operation Frankton, the British attack on Bordeaux in 1942

The Cockleshell Heroes, a 1955 film based on Operation Frankton


Gukhwa-ppang (국화빵; "chrysanthemum bread") is a flower-shaped pastry stuffed with sweetened red bean paste. It is a warm street food sold throughout Korea. It is grilled in an appliance similar to a waffle iron, but with flower-shaped molds.


Gyeran-ppang (계란빵; "egg bread") is a warm street snack sold throughout South Korea. The fluffy, oblong-shaped loaf of bread is sweet and savory with a whole egg inside the pancake dough.

Kelvin Natural Slush Co.

Kelvin Natural Slush Co. is a New York-based food truck company specializing in slush drinks.

Khanom Tokyo

Khanom Tokyo or Khanom Tokiao (Thai: ขนมโตเกียว, RTGS: khanom tokiao, pronounced [kʰā.nǒm tōː.kīa̯w]) is a Thai street snack. It is a thin flat pancake filled with sweet custard cream. Some have a savory filling, like pork or sausage.


Kyinkyinga is a grilled meat skewer or kebab that is common and popular in West Africa. Kyinkyinga is a Ghanian dish, very similar to or synonymous with the Hausa suya kebab, also known as sooya, tsinga, chichinga, tsire agashi, chachanga or tankora.It is prepared by coating the meat in tankora powder, a mixture of ground seasonings including dried hot peppers, ginger, and other spices, and peanut flour. The meat is then threaded onto a skewer, often interspersed with onions and bell peppers, then grilled. It has been described as a staple street food in Ghana.

Minatamis na saging

Minatamis na saging (literally "sweetened banana") is a Filipino dessert made with saba bananas cooked in a sweet syrup (arnibal) made with muscovado sugar and water. Some recipes also add a little bit of salt and vanilla extract. It can be eaten on its own or added as an ingredient to other desserts (notably for halo-halo). Adding milk and shaved ice to the dessert also results in another dessert known as saba con yelo (also spelled saba con hielo).


Picarones (or Picaron singular) are a Peruvian dessert that originated in Lima during the viceroyalty. It is somewhat similar to buñuelos, a type of doughnut brought to the colonies by Spanish conquistadors. Its principal ingredients are squash and sweet potato. It is served in a doughnut form and covered with syrup, made from chancaca (solidified molasses). It is traditional to serve picarones when people prepare anticuchos, another traditional Peruvian dish.


Punugulu / Punukkulu is a Andhra snack and common street food in Vijayawada and few coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh. Punugulu is a deep fried snack made with rice, urad dal and other spices. They are often served with peanut chutney called as palli chutney or coconut chutney or verusanaga chutney or Toordal chutney called as Kandhi Pachadi or they can be served with capsicum peanut chutney. They are also very popular in Hyderabad.


Sabich or sabih (Hebrew: סביח‎ [saˈbix]) is an Israeli sandwich based on a traditional Iraqi Jewish dish. It consists of pita stuffed with fried eggplant and hard boiled eggs.


Tokneneng is a tempura-like Filipino street food made by deep-frying orange batter covered hard-boiled eggs. A popular variation of tokneneng is kwek kwek. The main difference between the two lies in the egg that is used. Kwek kwek is traditionally made with quail eggs, while Tokneneng is made with chicken eggs. Due to their similarities, the two are often confused with some people calling tokneneng "kwek kwek" and vice versa.

Tokneneng is usually served with a spiced vinegar-based dip.The name "tokneneng" originated from the 1978 Pinoy komiks series Batute, illustrated by Vic Geronimo and created by Rene Villaroman. In the main character Batute's language, tokneneng means 'egg'.


Vastedda is the traditional Sicilian bread used to prepare the Pani ca meusa, a sandwich of veal spleen. It often also includes toppings of caciocavallo and ricotta cheese. It is most common in the city of Palermo.In Gratteri, near Palermo, a fried version called Vastedda fritta is also made. The vastedda fritta is recognized by Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry as a traditional product and is listed into the official list of traditional Italian agricultural and food product.


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Commercial mollusks
Marine gastropods
Land and freshwater gastropods
Free-swimming marine bivalves
Infaunal bivalves
Sessile bivalves
Freshwater bivalves
Edible mollusks
Related topics
Street foods
Food trucks
By location
Mobile catering
See also

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