Q:

How do clams move?

A:

Quick Answer

Clams that move do so by projecting a “foot,” which is a muscular, fleshy organ that can easily be projected from between the clams' two shells. Physically speaking, however, clams have no legs, arms, mouths or heads.

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Full Answer

The shells of clams are opened via two strong muscles and are needed because clams themselves have soft bodies. Despite not having legs or arms, clams still have hearts and blood vessels. Clams also have gills, which are used for removing not only oxygen but also food particles from water. This is why clams don't require mouths to eat.

The foot is not the only thing that clams extend out past their shells. To both breathe and feed, clams have to stick the ends of their siphons outside of their shells. Food is drawn into the clams' bodies by using cilia, which stir up water and make small currents. At this point, the food is passed throughout the clams' digestive systems, and the excess water is forced back out through the siphons.

Both little-neck and hard-shell clams are often referred to as quahogs. This was a name given to them by the Narraganset Indians. They are traditionally found along the Gulf of Mexico and on the Atlantic coast.

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Related Questions

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    What are topneck clams?

    A:

    Topneck clams are a species of hard-shell clams found on the East Coast of the United States, where hard-shell clams are sold by size. Topneck clams are about 2 inches wide. Though each size range has a different name and preferred preparation method, the species of clam is the same -- the hard, or northern, quahog clam.

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    How long do clams live?

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    Of the 15,000 species of bivalves known as clams, some have life cycles of only one year. Individuals of one species called the ocean quahog, or Arctica islandica, however, are among the oldest living animals on Earth, with one captured specimen measured to be more than 500 years of age.

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    All hard clams start out their adult lives as males. In later years, the larger clams often switch from the production of sperm to the production of eggs, effectively changing their sex to female.

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    Freshwater clams filter food and nutrients out of the water. If they are in an aquarium, their diets can also include invertebrate food to supplement their natural food intake.

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