Q:

How can you tell if a clam is dead?

A:

Clams with a tightly closed shell are alive and can be safely eaten. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, tapping the shell of an open clam that is alive causes the shell to immediately close. Clams that remain open after the shell is tapped are dead or dying and should not be eaten. Cracked or broken shells also indicate the clam is dead.

Clams belong to the animal group called bivalves. This group also includes mussels, oysters and scallops. The soft body parts of these shellfish are enclosed between two shells. Bivalves are closely related to abalone, snails, slugs, squid and octopuses. These animals, including bivalves, are collectively called mollusks.

There are freshwater and marine clams ranging in size from microscopic to giant species that weigh as much as 440 pounds. Clam life cycles range from one year to hundreds of years. All clams are filter feeders that strain food particles from the water. Other animals that use this method of feeding are krill, sponges and baleen whales. Clams are a common food item, although not all species are considered palatable.

Commonly harvested hardshell clams include Manilla and Native Littlenecks, Butter Clams and Macomas. These clams are found on beaches of mixed sand or gravel and mud. They are commonly harvested using shovels or rakes. Except for the large Butter Clams, rakes are most effective and less damaging to the clams and the beach.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the habitat of a piranha?

    A:

    The natural habitat of the piranha is limited to fast-flowing freshwater rivers and streams. Native to the jungles of the Amazon Basin, Pygocentrus nattereri has been spotted in nearly every South American country.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do cnidarians move?

    A:

    Cnidarians that move do so by flexing weak, gelatinous muscles in the body walls of their bells against a pressurized hydrostatic skeleton. However, many types of cnidarians, such as mature anemones and corals, move little if at all, although juvenile stages may take a more mobile form to disperse individual organisms. Even the more mobile types, such as jellyfish, move only weakly and generally drift as plankton with the current.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the Beluga whale food chain?

    A:

    Beluga whales live near the top of the food chain in the Arctic ocean. Belugas, also called white whales because of their white skin, eat small species of fish and crustaceans, such as salmon, smelt, herring, Arctic and polar cod, shrimp, crabs, mollusks and marine worms. Belugas, in turn, are preyed upon by killer whales, polar bears and humans.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do bivalves show cephalization?

    A:

    Bivalves are mollusks that show no cephalization, according to Clinton Community College. The biological makeup of mollusks does not include a head, central nervous system and sensory organs that are needed for cephalization in higher animals, notes Estrella Mountain Community College.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore