The bivalve ligament provides the thrust for shell opening, acting as the resistance in a lever system against which adductor muscle effort is applied. Usually, its outer lamellar layer is subjected to tensile stress, while the inner fibrous layer is compressed, with the pivotal axis located between them. However, opisthogyrate rostrate bivalves display a concave dorsal margin, and both the umbo and the postero-dorsal angle of the shell project dorsally to the ligament, which then fails to act as pivotal axis. Three opisthogyrate rostrate genera of unrelated lineages show somewhat different solutions to this morpho-functional challenge. In Cuspidaria (Anomalodesmata), the ligament is internal, subjected only to compression and ventral to the pivotal axis, a thickened periostracum develops, forcing the dorsal margins of the valves to act as pivotal axis, and the posterior parts of the shell's dorsal margins gape dorsally. In Nuculana (Palaeotaxodonta), the inner layer of the ligament is internal, the outer layer is external but reduced, and some species develop a dorsal ridge parallel to the commissural plane, on a level with the rostrum and acting as pivotal axis. In Pterotrigonia (Palaeoheterodonta) and other rostrate trigoniides, the ligament is external opisthodetic, but is allometrically reduced. Trigoniides may also develop a dorsal ridge.