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subject = Biology
title = The Giant Clam
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The Giant Clam
The giant clam is known as a reef dwelling
mollusk. The domestication factor has
become of large importance to the
Indo-Pacific peoples. Mainly in the area of their diet.
These huge clams
are huge targets for fishermen and can be found easily. With the crystal
complection of the reef waters they live in makes them even easier to be spotted
the fishermen an by poachers. The people of this region eat every part
of the flesh of the
animal. They either dry, cook, or eat them raw.
Taiwan there has been a large illeagal industry of selling these huge clams.
a demand of somewhere around 100 tons of the meat a year that is
worth around $7.50-
$21.25 a kilogram at the dockside of Taiwan. It is
being severely poached by foreigners
and the population of the giant clam
is decreasing. The reefs that they live on are also
being severely damaged
and destroyed in large amounts. The giant clam has been
the areas of Indonesia and the Phillippines. The species Tridacnid gigas
the Tridacnid derasa are the most heavily hunted species.
are the largest of the giant clams. They grow to around a meter in
and weigh around 300 kilograms. These particular clams are hermaphrodites
reach sexual maturity at around five years of age. They spray out
large numbers of their
eggs and sperm into the seawater which then meet
to form a free floating larvae. A large
Tridacnid gigas has the ability
to release hundreds of millions of microscopic eggs in a
single day, which
makes it one of the most fertile marine invertebrates. However most of
free floating larvae do not survive during their one week planktonic period.
that survive settle on a patch of hard reef by means of a sticky
byssal threads and orient
their fleshy mantles towards the sun. They
continue to grow their at a rate of around five
to ten centimeters a year.
But they are not safe from other reef predators until they are
2.5 years old, which makes this large species hard to find. About 100 of the
original eggs will eventually become a full grown clam, but that number
is much lower in
dense and exploited areas of a reef. Usually they will
continue to grow in that spot for
several decades. There is also never
any paternal care and the clam will probably move
anywhere but deeper in
In the Asia Pacific area there are many groups of scientists
these large clams in an effort to learn more about
this rare and extremely over hunted and