Giant clam Facts

Giant clam Facts
Giant clam is the largest sessile (attached to the ground) mollusk in the world. It can be found in the tropical waters of Indian and Pacific oceans, in Thailand, Japan, Micronesia and Australia. Giant clam inhabits coral reefs and lagoons that provide enough sun light. Number of giant clams in the wild is drastically reduced due to overharvesting. People collect giant clams because of their meat and because they look very attractive when exposed in aquariums. Giant clams are listed as vulnerable, which means they can become endangered in the near future.
Interesting Giant clam Facts:
Giant clam is a huge mollusk. It can reach 4 feet in length and weigh up to 500 pounds. Biggest recorded specimen had 6 feet in length.
Giant clams are beautifully colored. Their mantle is usually a mixture of yellow, red, green, blue, pink and brown color.
There are no two giant clams that have the same coloration. Each giant clam has unique combination of colors.
Giant clam has thick, bony shell that can be easily recognized by its zigzag shape. Unlike other clams, giant clam cannot close its shell completely.
Giant clam lives in symbiosis with algae, which means that both organisms have benefits from the mutual life. Giant clam provides shelter and enough sunlight, while algae provide food via photosynthesis.
Giant clam is able to reach huge size thanks to the food based on sugar and proteins (produced by algae). Other than that, giant clam collects and eats plankton from the water.
Giant clam is equipped with two siphons (pipes) which eject bodily fluids and ingest water with food.
Besides for algae, giant clam often offers protection for pea crab.
Giant clams live sedentary life. Soon after hatching, young giant clams will find suitable place and attach themselves to the ground.
Although large in size, giant clam has a lot of predators. Those are usually small sea creatures, like fish, snails, sea snakes, that eat small pieces of the giant clam.
People used to believe that giant clams catch divers by quickly closing the shell. Luckily, this is not true.
Giant clams are hermaphrodites. That means that one animal has both male and female reproductive organs. Even though they can self-reproduce (produce offspring without a partner), they prefer mixing with other giant clams.
Giant clams release huge amount of sperm and eggs into the water where they will mix with sperm and eggs of other giant clams. Each year, millions of eggs are produced, but just few of them survive until the adulthood.
Fertilized eggs will transform into freely moving larvae after a period of 12 hours. Larvae will start producing a shell and after a couple of days, they will become large enough to settle on the ground.
Giant clams can survive more than 100 years in the wild.

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