Monsters of the Deep

Monsters of the Deep

In books and movies they are monsters of the deep with massive jaws waiting to trap an unwary diver and drag them to their doom. True to their name, giant clams are the largest of their kind with shells over four feet long; but they’re hardly dangerous. In fact, there’s never been a reported death by clam. Life as a giant clam is rather peaceful. They live in coral reefs in the warm shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean. With shells wide open they bask in the sunlight.

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Each clam has a set of unique-colored patterns on its skin. Just under its skin is its silent partner, an algae colony. In this symbiotic relationship the clam provides the algae with protection in exchange for skimming a little algae off the top for a midnight snack. Never one to pass up a free meal the giant clams also filter feed on plankton using their siphons to draw water in and out over their gills. But they don’t want to become food themselves. Scattered across their skin are hundreds of tiny eyes. With them it can sense shadows overhead. Any sudden change and the clam is closed for business, although never fast enough to put a person out of commission. In fact, the way most people are hurt by giant clams is by trying to pick them up. They can way a monstrous 500 pounds.[ad#below-video]