The divaricators proper are stated by Hancock to arise from the ventral valve, one on each side, a little in advance of and close to the adductors, and after rapidly diminishing in size become attached to the cardinal process, a space or prominence between the sockets in the dorsal valve.
The accessory divaricators are, according to the same authority, a pair of small muscles which have their ends attached to the ventral valve, one on each side of the median line, a little behind the united basis of the adductors, and again to the extreme point of the cardinal process.
The chief points in which they vary are - (1) in the structure of the ctenidia or branchial plates; (2) in the presence of one or of two chief muscles, the fibres of which run across the animal's body from one valve of the shell to the other (adductors); (3) in the greater or less elaboration of the posterior portion of the mantle-skirt so as to form a pair of tubes, by one of which water is introduced into the sub-pallial chamber, whilst by the other it is expelled; (4) in the perfect or deficient symmetry of the two valves of the shell and the connected soft parts, as compared with one another; (5) in the development of the foot as a disk-like crawling organ (Arca, Nucula, Pectunculus, Trigonia, Lepton, Galeomma), as a simple plough-like or tongueshaped organ (Unionidae, &c.), as a re-curved saltatory organ (Cardium, &c.), as a long burrowing cylinder (Solenidae, &c.), or its partial (Mytilacea) or even complete abortion (Ostraeacea).
On the other hand, the ligament h acts upon the short arm formed by the umbonal ridge of the shells; whenever the adductors relax, the elastic substance of the ligament contracts, and the shells gape.
Posteriorly beneath the posterior adductors, and covered only by a thin layer of elongated epidermal cells, are the visceral ganglia.