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Clams and Giant Clam.

They will be decorating the reef everywhere you look in the whitsundays. from little clams wedged in cracks in the coral that they slowly grow into, to giant clams sitting on the reefs floor. "what are those beutifull swivelly thing that i've seen down there?", thats a common question from our divers and snorkelers. Well, they are Wonderfully coloured and the largest living bivalve mollusc! they can weigh more than 227 kilograms , measure as much as 1.2 metres across, and have an average lifespan in the wild of 100 years or more.
The mantle tissues (the colourful 'lips')act as a habitat for zooxanthellaethe, the single-celled dinoflagellate algae from which it gets its nutrition. By day, the clam spreads out its mantle tissue so that the algae receive the sunlight they need to photosynthesize. Interestly Zooxanthellaethe is the algae that the whole reef is built on!
Sadly the giant clam has been historically misunderstood. Known in times past as the killer clam or man-eating clam, (don't put your arm in there!!!) reputable scientific and technical manuals once claimed that the great mollusc had caused deaths; versions of the U.S. Navy Diving Manual even gave detailed instructions for releasing oneself from its grasp by severing the adductor muscles used to close its shell.
Today the giant clam is considered neither aggressive nor particularly dangerous. While it is certainly theoretically capable of holding one fast in its grip, in reality the shell's closing action is a defensive response, not an aggressive one, and the process of closing the shell valves is far too slow to pose a serious threat. In other words, the clam is incapable of suddenly snapping shut on a person's arm or leg and drowning them.! The best thing to do when you happen upon one of these beauties, is stop and admire them. Lucky for us here on the Great Barrier Reef they are a protected species. In some islands throughout the Pacific they are harvested for food.

clam
Triadacna Clam
clam shell
Triadacna Clam
giant clam
Clam
Whitsunday Giant Clam