A cockle is a small, edible, marine bivalve mollusc. Although many small edible bivalves are loosely called cockles, true cockles are species in the family Cardiidae. True cockles live in sandy, sheltered beaches throughout the world. The distinctive rounded shells are bilaterally symmetrical, and are heart-shaped when viewed from the end. Numerous radial evenly spaced ribs are a feature of the shell in most but not all genera (for an exception, see the genus Laevicardium, the egg cockles, which have very smooth shells).