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.
The prothallus and sexual organs may resemble those of the Polypodiaceae; in Aneimia and Mohria the prothallus, though flattened, is not bilaterally symmetrical, the growing point being on one side; a filamentous type of prothallus is known in Schizaea.