This species is found in coastal areas of the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It is widely distributed from Norway to the coast of west Africa.
The common cockle is one of the most abundant species of molluscs in tidal flats in the bays and estuaries of Europe. It is an important species for the fishing industry, and it plays a major role as a source of food for crustaceans, fish, and wading birds. It is commercially fished in the Netherlands and the British Isles. It is also used in aquaculture, farming of cockles is ongoing in Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal.
Cerastoderma edule is able to jump approximately 5 inches at a time, in order to escape predators, which are identified by the many antennae and eyes it has along its mantle edges. It is usually situated with the opening of its shell heading upwards, through which the antennae and eyes extend. It jumps by extending its leg outside the shell and then contracting it.