Monday, August 18, 2014

Razor Clam Escape Artist

Ensis directus; the razor clam.
What's a razor clam to do, exposed to the elements, a sitting duck for hungry gulls?

Dig.  Dig fast.

Clams have an extraordinary muscular foot that they use to dig.  They are, after all, molluscs, and the muscular foot is one of the characteristics of this phylum.  It's easy to see it on the gastropods -- snails and such.  But bivalves have them too.  They use them to dig in a complex and beautiful manner.  This is something you don't see terribly often out in nature, so it was a real treat to come upon a razor clam (Ensis directus) digging its way into the substrate the other day.  Usually they're deep in the mud, and digging them can easily break them.  Happily, my trusty water-proof camera was ready:

Razor clams are a wonderful specimen for my Biology of Marine Organisms lab, so I'm sorry to say I grabbed that bad boy.  It's in my tank right now, happily munching down on the Shellfish Diet I feed my filter feeders with.

Here it is in my bucket, with some other goodies:

Just look at that foot!  Wow.  Can there be anything more beautiful?


  1. This is just too cool for words!

  2. I am often dumbstruck by this stuff. Or caused to babble . . . .

  3. Yes, I hear they are. Never had them though.