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Kodiak Island Clams

[Kodiak Island Clams, misclams.jpg=61KB]

Clams are molluscs, and the clams pictured above were all dug from the beaches of Kodiak Island. From the top, clockwise, are the Pacific littleneck clam, Protothaca staminea; the truncated softshell clam, Mya truncata; the eastern softshell clam, Mya arenaria; Nuttall cockle, Clinocardium nuttallii; and the butter clam, Saxidomus gigantea. The Pacific littleneck and and eastern softshell clams are intertidal species, whereas the others are in the intertidal as well as subtidal zones. Butter and littleneck clams are popular for subsistence or home use and are harvested commercially. The eastern softshell clam is not indigenous to the West Coast, having been introduced from the Atlantic. Most of these species range from the Bering Sea, Norton Sound, and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to California and Baja, Mexico, except the truncated softshell clam, which ranges from the Beaufort Sea to Washington State. Clams burrow in the substrate, some shallower than others depending on their siphon length. The Nuttall cockle and the littleneck are both shallow burrowers, barely covered with sand or gravel; the butter clam burrows to a depth of 12 inches. Predators include the sea stars, Dungeness crab, octopus, and sea otters.

 

Digital photo by Dr. Bradley Stevens. References (a complete list) in the text include: O'Clair (1998), Gotshall (1994), Kessler (1985) or Barr (1983).

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