The divaricators proper are stated by Hancock to arise from the ventral valve, one on each side, a little in advance of and close to the adductors, and after rapidly diminishing in size become attached to the cardinal process, a space or prominence between the sockets in the dorsal valve.
The accessory divaricators are, according to the same authority, a pair of small muscles which have their ends attached to the ventral valve, one on each side of the median line, a little behind the united basis of the adductors, and again to the extreme point of the cardinal process.
The chief points in which they vary are - (1) in the structure of the ctenidia or branchial plates; (2) in the presence of one or of two chief muscles, the fibres of which run across the animal's body from one valve of the shell to the other (adductors); (3) in the greater or less elaboration of the posterior portion of the mantle-skirt so as to form a pair of tubes, by one of which water is introduced into the sub-pallial chamber, whilst by the other it is expelled; (4) in the perfect or deficient symmetry of the two valves of the shell and the connected soft parts, as compared with one another; (5) in the development of the foot as a disk-like crawling organ (Arca, Nucula, Pectunculus, Trigonia, Lepton, Galeomma), as a simple plough-like or tongueshaped organ (Unionidae, &c.), as a re-curved saltatory organ (Cardium, &c.), as a long burrowing cylinder (Solenidae, &c.), or its partial (Mytilacea) or even complete abortion (Ostraeacea).
On the other hand, the ligament h acts upon the short arm formed by the umbonal ridge of the shells; whenever the adductors relax, the elastic substance of the ligament contracts, and the shells gape.
Posteriorly beneath the posterior adductors, and covered only by a thin layer of elongated epidermal cells, are the visceral ganglia.
The four orders now retained exhibit successive stages in the modification of the ctenidia by reflection and concrescence of the filament, but other organs, such as the heart, adductors, renal organs, may not show corresponding stages.
Two adductors usually present.
Galeommidae.-Mantle reflected over shell; shell thin, gaping; adductors much reduced.
Geniculated; pallial line without sinus; two adductors, Cardium; British.
Limnocardiidae.-Siphons very long, united throughout; shell gaping; two adductors; brackish waters.