They are common all around New Zealand and around the Chatham Islands. They are often found on silty sandbars or sandy beaches just inside harbour entrances, especially in areas where there is freshwater seepage. The species has a short siphon and does not burrow deeply.
Oval-shaped, bivalve shell hinged centrally. The larger shells have a concave lower edge and are usually yellow, although they can have orange-brown or black patches. Delicate cream meat with a low oil content. They should be soaked in seawater up to 24 hours to eliminate grittiness.
Pipi belong to the Mesodesmatidae family (clams).
The species is harvested year-round.