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Phylum Mollusca > Class Bivalvia
Razor clams
Family Solenidae
updated May 2020
if you learn only 3 things about them ...
On one end is the long siphon, and the other a strong muscular foot.
The thin flexible shell allows it to slip easily into the sand.
They are rapid burrowers. Let's put this one down and see how fast it can burrow.

Where seen? These almost cylindrical clams can move surprisingly quickly and are rarely seen as they are usually buried in the sand. They are sometimes seen above ground on the undisturbed sandy shores near seagrass areas on our northern shores. They are adapted for burrowing deeply in soft bottoms.

Razor clam (Solen brevisiima)
Foot burrowing in (left) and siphon extended (right).
Chek Jawa, Jan 04

Siphon of a large buried razor clam
Changi, Jul 11
Built for digging: 1.5-5cm long. The razor clam is a strong and quick burrower. The somewhat rectangular and cylindrical two-part shell is thin, narrow and smooth, allowing the animal to slip easily through the sand. On one end of the shell emerges a strong foot that it uses to burrow quickly into wet sand. On the other end a long siphon sticks out to the surface to breathe and feed. The siphon breaks easily when the animal is disturbed. In this way, the animal probably avoids being dragged out of the sand by its siphon.

Bulbous tip of the muscular foot.
Pasir Ris, Dec 11

What do they eat? Like other bivalves, razor clams are filter feeders. The buried clam sticks its long siphon out to the surface. When submerged, it sucks in a current of water through the siphon. It uses its enlarged gills to sieve food particles out of this current.

Human uses:
Larger razor shells are edible and are collected as food. Like other filter-feeding clams, however, razor clams may be affected by red tide and other harmful algal blooms. Such clams can then be harmful to eat.

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Razor clams on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pasir Ris Park, Dec 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Family Solenidae recorded for Singapore
from Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore.

  Family Solenidae
  Solen brevissimus
Solen delesserti
Solen linearis
Solen pseudolinearis
Solen vagina



  • Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore (pdf), Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.
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