Fluted Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa)

Also sometimes known as the scaly clam, the fluted giant clam is a species of “giant clam” (Tridacnidae) which occurs in shallow coral reefs throughout the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. T. squamosa can be distinguished from other members of the genus by its large “leaf-like” edges on its shell known as ‘scutes’. It is also noted for having a relatively small byssal opening when compared to other Tridacnids. Despite their size like other bivalve species fluted giant clams are sessile filter feeders. 


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Image(s): Nhobgood

Pitar lupanaria

…a species of venus clam (veneridae) that occurs throughout the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Like other members of the genus Pitar P. lupanarai posses an unusual series of curved spines on the posterior slop of each valve, their exact function remains unknown. Like other bivalves P. lupanaria is a filter feeder and will filter the water around it for organic material.


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Image: Flicka

photo by Graham Bould

When you think of animals, think of this mollusk, Austrovenus stutchburyi. The New Zealand cockle is an edible Venus clam found in the subtidal and intertidal zone. They prefer soft mud or fine sand. Birds are able to eat these by dropping them onto rocks to crack open the cockle’s shell, but most fish are unable to get inside.


Calyptogena magnifica

…is a large species of clam that is found clustered around hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean. Like other hydrothermal vent animals C.magnifica is adapted to live with bacteria that it carries in its gills. These bacteria oxidize hydrogen sulfide, from there the clam absorb the nutrients produced by the bacteria.  The clams need the vents to survive and if they cease to flow the entire community will die off.



Images: Tim Shank and Richard A. Lutz

Common Cockle (Cerastoderma edule)

…a species of cockle (Cardiidae) that is distributed throughout coastal areas of the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Norway to west Africa. Like other cockles C. edule is a burrowing filter feeder and will feed on plankton from the surrounding water. They are also capable of “jumping” when threatened by straightening/bending thier foot. Common cockles are an important food item for humans and other animals alike and are a major item in the commercial fishing industry. 


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Image: Feron Benjamin

Bear Paw Clam (Hippopus hippopus)

Also known as the horse’s hoof clam or strawberry clam, the bear paw clam is a species of large clam in the “giant clam family” (Tridacnidae). Hippopus hippopus occurs in coral reefs along a large part of the South Pacific ocean and part of the Indian Ocean. Like most clams H. hippopus is a sessile filter feeder.


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Image: Rikaris

Warty Venus (Venus verrucosa)

…a species of saltwater “venus clam” (Veneridae) which is distributed along the European coast and also the southern African coast, from Namibia to Mozambique. Warty venuses occupy the subtidal zone, where they will burrow into the mud/sand with only their siphons exposed, allowing them to filter feed.


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Image: Hans Hillewaert

“Fat Gaper” (Tresus capax)

Also known as the horse clam (a name it shares with Tresus nuttallii as well) Tresus capax is a species of saltwater Mactrid clam that inhabits the Pacific coast of North America, ranging from California north to Alaska. Tresus capax typically inhabits intertidal areas and will bury itself in sand, mud, and gravel substrates. Like most bivalves T. capax is a filter feeder and will filter the water around itself for nutrients.  T. capax is also known to hold a relationship with the small pea crab Pinnixa faba which will enter the bivalve through its large siphon and live inside its mantle cavity.


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Image: Minette Layne

Angulus fabula

…is a species of marine Tellinid bivalve mollusc, which is known to occur off the coasts of north west Europe south to Morocco. It also is known from the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. A. fabula is a burrowing species, with individuals burrowing into clean or muddy sand in shallow or medium depth water, only exposing their two siphons to gather nutrients and detritus. 


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Image: Hans Hillewaert

Chamelea gallina

…is a species of small venus clam (Veneridae) which is known to occur along the coasts of the Eastern Atlantic, ranging from Norway and the British Isles to Portugal, Morocco, and the Canary Islands. It is also known to occur in the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea. C. gallina is typically seen under the  the surface of mud or sand, with its siphons exposed. From here it will filter feed for nutrients. 


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Image: Didier Descouens