The Lamellibranchia are mainly characterized by the rudimentary condition of the head, and the retention of the primitive bilateral symmetry, the latter feature being accentuated by the lateral compression of the body and the development of the shell as two bilaterally symmetrical plates or valves covering each one side of the animal.
The original form was bilaterally symmetrical, and this symmetry is retained in all the classes except the Gastropoda.
Their most important characteristic in comparison with the latter is that they are, both in external and internal structure, bilaterally symmetrical.
The structure is bilaterally symmetrical, the body and shell elongated along the antero-posterior axis and nearly cylindrical.
- Tentacles simple or branched, never peltate; calcareous ring well developed, often bilaterally symmetrical; retractor muscles usually present; stone-canal opens internally; genital tubes in right and left tufts.