Brachiopods with shells partially open

Lamp shells

Lamp shells are animals that look superficially like bivalve molluscs but are in a phylum all of their own called the brachiopoda. Once abundant in Earth's prehistoric oceans, today they thrive only in Antarctic waters, though a few species survive elsewhere. Some lamp shells are living fossils: organisms that have survived unchanged for millions of years. Instead of spawning, a few species brood their eggs inside the shell, releasing larvae into the sea when they've hatched.

Scientific name: Brachiopoda

Rank: Phylum

Common names:


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The following habitats are found across the Lamp shells distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Lamp shells