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The calcareous shells secreted by bivalve molluscs display diverse and species specific structural compositions, which indicates possible divergent biomineralization processes. Thus, studying multiple mollusc species will provide a more comprehensive understanding of shell formation. Here, the transcriptomes of the mantle tissues responsible for shell deposition were characterized in three commercially relevant bivalve species. Using high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics tools, de novo transcriptome assemblies of mantle tissues were generated for the mussel Mytilus edulis, the oyster Crassostrea gigas and the scallop Pecten maximus. These transcriptomes were annotated, and contigs with similarity to proteins known to have shell formation roles in other species were identified. Comparison of the shell formation specific proteins in the three bivalves indicates the possibility of species specific shell proteins.