There’s a lot more to clams than clam chowder. Sure, they just look like a hinged shell with squishy stuff inside, but make them a little bit bigger—or a lot bigger—and you can see how complex they actually are.
We don’t even need science fiction to do it. The giant clam can grow up to five feet long. Unsurprisingly, it’s the world’s biggest bivalve. It lives on reef flats and shallow lagoons in the Indo-Pacific, and it’s one of the most amazing clams you could ever hope to see.
Like its smaller cousins, the giant clam is a filter feeder, surviving off of small particles in the water. But it also has another trick up its shell. It farms out algae inside its shell, giving the big bivalve a constant flow of nutrients.
The giant clam is immobile, but luckily its soft body is safely incased inside its huge shell. Sometimes larger clams can’t close their shells all the way, which gives us a glimpse of their surprisingly colorful—and beautiful—body linings, called mantles.
You can learn more about giant clams and other cool creatures from Oceana’s marine wildlife encyclopedia.
- Ocean Roundup: Morbillivirus Strikes the Florida Keys, New Species of Snailfish Discovered in Mariana Trench, and More Posted Mon, December 22, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Deep Sea Sediments Act as Microplastic Sinks, Risso’s Dolphins Stranding in High Numbers, and More Posted Thu, December 18, 2014
- Photos: Christmas Island's Incredible Red Crab Migration is Underway Posted Mon, December 22, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Task Force Releases Recommendations on Seafood Fraud, Sea Otters Critical to Healthy Marshes, and More Posted Tue, December 16, 2014
- Video: Drone Captures Amazing Humpback Whale Feeding Event on Camera Posted Thu, December 18, 2014