Karyotype, location of the nucleolar organiser region (NOR) and heterochromatin presence and composition were studied in the Antarctic scallop Adamussium colbecki Smith, 1902. The karyotype exhibits 2n = 38 chromosomes with 11 pairs of metacentrics, 5 of submetacentrics, one subtelocentric and two telocentrics. Ag–NOR, CMA3, DA/MM and NOR–FISH evidenced paracentromeric NORs on the short arm of 2nd pair chromosomes. Digestion with three restriction endonucleases followed by sequential staining with Giemsa, CMA3 and DAPI evidenced on all chromosomes centromeric heterochromatin positive for both DAPI and CMA3. In situ hybridisation analysis showed the presence of an AT-rich satellite DNA in the centromeric heterochromatin of several chromosomes. A mosaicism was detected in the germinal cell lines of one specimen, as in six of the 20 plates examined the set had 37 chromosomes with a missing pair of telocentrics and an unpaired metacentric. Comparison of the chromosome sets of all the pectinids studied to date and comparison with a phyletic tree obtained from molecular mitochondrial genes studies yielded good agreement between karyotype morphology and taxonomic classification.