The Pinctada is a type of saltwater oysterscategorized among the bivalve molluscs of the family Pteriidae. Scientists have listed nearly 20 species of Pinctada. These oysters are most abundant in the waters of the tropics and subtropics between the Indo-Pacific and the Western Atlantic.
They are totally different from edible oysters and freshwater pearl mussels. Many species of Pinctada offer very good quality pearls, worthy of the greatest jewelers. These pearls apparently meet, since ancient times, human criteria of beauty and rarity.
A new species of Pinctada with unique properties
Many species of Pinctada are used in aquaculture and industry rare pearls. Pearl farming has grown rapidly over the past ten years. However, understanding of the biodiversity, evolution and conservation of these species remains limited. Thus, as part of this new study, the researchers analyzed 15 pearl oyster samples collected around the island of Dok Mai while scuba diving.
According to the scientists, some of the Pinctada specimens collected in Phuket showed differences from other species found in that region. This distinction lies in the molecular and aspect data. This new species resembles the Akoya pearl oyster, except that it is smaller, shell height does not exceed 8 cm, and lacks hinge teeth.
Further research to better know the Pinctadas?
The objective of this study was to clarify the taxonomic status of samples. It was based on morphological and molecular examinations. The analyzes revealed that the specimens presented a genetic difference compared to other species of the same genus. This new species is called Pinctada phuketensis.
She has a square shell with rounded corners, provided with a more or less long ligament. Its valves are characterized by a rear auricle, from slightly developed to undeveloped, with a small, narrow, slit-like notch. Its tip is non-pearly, pale to transparent, with a few dark brown or black spots, and it has brownish bands on the outer surface.
The authors believe that further work on the Pinctadas is needed to learn more about this species. Research could be based on combining data from different genetic markers anda geographically larger sample. This would allow a better understanding of their diversity, phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary patterns.