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Phylum Mollusca > Class Bivalvia
Venus clams
Family Veneridae
updated May 2020
if you learn only 3 things about them ...
Many venus clam species are edible.
However, don't eat wild clams as some may make you ill.
They are eaten by snails that bore a hole in their shell. See if you can find such a shell?

Where seen?
Another seafood favourite, in Singapore, these clams are also called 'la-la'. Venus clams are still commonly seen on some of our shores, in sandy and rocky areas near seagrasses and coral rubble.

What are venus clams? Venus clams belong to the Family Veneridae. There are more than 400 known species in this family with some of the most colourful of bivalves. Many are edible.

Features: 3-4cm. The two-part shells are thick. Some have ridges or various patterns. They are usually buried just beneath the surface. The fine ridges on their shells to help them stay buried.

What eats them? Despite their thick hard shells they are still preyed upon by predators such as moon snails, drills, crabs and shorebirds. Of course humans love to eat them too.

What do they eat?
Like many other bivalves, venus clams are filter feeders. They lie buried in the sand and extend their siphons to the surface at high tide. They use their siphons to suck in water and filter out microscopic food. The water also brings fresh oxygen to the animal. Clams in this and related families, have a folded gill structure that is well developed for filtering out tiny food particles. The Gladys Archerd Shell Collection website has a drawing of this complex filter.

Venus clams being harvested.
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 03

Half buried under a stone.
Chek Jawa, Sep 02

Siphon sticking out.
Changi, Feb 02
Human uses: Many of the commercially important clams are venus clams. Some are also used as fish bait. Venus clams are among the favourite seafood of people everywhere. Like other filter-feeding clams, however, venus clams may be affected by red tide and other harmful algal blooms. Such clams can then be harmful to eat.

Status and threats: None of our venus clams are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. However, like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors and over-collection can also affect local populations of young clams.

Some Venus clams on Singapore shores


Unidentified venus clams on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Family Veneridae recorded for Singapore
from Tan Siong Kiat and Henrietta P. M. Woo, 2010 Preliminary Checklist of The Molluscs of Singapore.
^from WORMS
+Other additions (Singapore Biodiversity Record, etc)

  Venus clams seen awaiting identification
Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.
  Bean-shaped venus clam
Ribbed venus clam
White venus clams

  Family Veneridae

Anomalocardia squamosa
Anomalocardia malonei

+Antigona chemnitzii
Antigona lamellaris

Bassina foliacea

Callista chinensis

Circe scripta
(Script venus clam)
Circe tumefacta
Circe undatina

Clementia papyracea

Dosinia cretacea
Dosinia exasperata
Dosinia juvenilis
Dosinia laminata
Dosinia trigona=^Costellipitar madecassinus

Gafrarium dispar
(Discrepant venus clam)
Gafrarium divaricatum
(Forked venus clam)
Gafrarium pectinatum
Gafrarium tumidum=^Gafrarium pectinatum
(Tumid venus clam)

Globivenus toreuma=Venus toreum

+Hyphantosoma intricatum

Irus irus=Venerupis chinensis
(Long-leaf irus clam)

Lioconcha sowerbyi (Sowerby’s venus clam)

Marcia hiantina
Marcia flammea
Marcia japonica
+ Marcia recens

Meretrix lusoria
+Meretrix lyrata
(Lyrate Asiatic hard clam)
Meretrix meretrix
(Meretrix venus clam)

Paphia alapapilionis=^Paphia rotundata (Butterfly venus clam)
Paphia sinuosa
Paphia textile
(Textile venus clam)
Paphia undulata
(Undulating venus clam)

+Paratapes undulatus

Periglypta ata
Periglypta crispata
Periglypta puerpera
(Youthful venus clam)

Pitar affinis
Pitar belcheri
Pitar citrinus
Pitar deshayesi
+Pitar lineolatus
Pitar marrowae
Pitar striata

Placamen calophyllum
Placamen chloroticum
Placamen isabellina
+Placamen lamellatum

Protapes gallus=Paphia gallus

Ruditapes philippinarum
Ruditapes variegatus

Tapes belcheri
Tapes literatus

Timoclea arakana
Timoclea chuangi
Timoclea decorata
Timoclea lionota

With grateful thanks to Andre Sartori from eBivalvia on EOL's Life Desk for identifying some of the Venus clams.

Links References
  • Chan Sow-Yan & Lau Wing Lup. 30 April 2020. Sightings of the long-leaf irus clam, Irus irus, in Singapore. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2020: 49-52 ISSN 2345-7597
  • Tan Siong Kiat, Chan Sow-Yan & Lau Wing Lup. 31 October 2019. Sowerby’s venus clam, Lioconcha sowerbyi, a new record for Singapore, Singapore Biodiversity Records 2019: 118-119 ISSN 2345-7597.
  • Tan Siong Kiat and Chan Sow-Yan. 31 Oct 2017. First Singapore record of Venus clam, Pitar lineolatus. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2017: 142
  • Tan Siong Kiat. 31 Aug 2017. Lyrate Asiatic hard clam, Meretrix lyrata, at Changi coast. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2017: 142
  • Tan Siong Kiat. 31 Aug 2017. Two species of venus clams new to Singapore: , Antigona chemnitzii and Hyphantosoma intricatum. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2017: 114-115.
  • 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.
  • Tan, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to the Common Seashells of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Ng, P. K. L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore. The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
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