The Beacon

Blog Tags: Ocean Facts

Marine Monday: Giant Clam

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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Calling All Ocean Geeks: What's Your Ocean IQ?

sea turtle hatchling

© Oceana/Cory Wilson

Got the winter blues? In need of intellectual stimulation, or a vacation to a tropical destination -- or both? Or are you just a proud ocean geek? Either way, it's your lucky day.

Yesterday we launched our brand new Ocean IQ Quiz, where you can use your ocean smarts to win prizes -- including a trip to Baja California.

After you take the quiz, you'll have a chance to enter the sweepstakes to win a slew of prizes. The grand prize winner will travel with ecotourism organization SEE Turtles on an exclusive eco-adventure to observe sea turtles in the wild.

And the other prizes are not too shabby either: Nintendo Wiis with a copy of the ocean exploration game Endless Ocean, plus dive watches, gift cards and rope bracelets from Nautica.

Plus, this pop quiz is open-note. You can beef up your score by utilizing our Explore section, and you can take multiple quizzes if you're one of those over-achiever types.

So go on, test your ocean IQ! I know you want to. And all the cool kids are doing it.

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