Clams and snails are close relatives! They belong to a group of
animals called molluscs. Other molluscs include octopus, squids
take a closer look at a clam! Clams have a two-part shell.
The shell is made up of two valves, hence their scientific name
bivalve! Now you know a scientific word too!
- There is
a hinge between the two valves. (Use a dead clam to show this).
A strong adductor muscle keeps the two valves shut. Did you know
that when we eat scallops, the part we eat is the adductor muscle
and not the animal?
- Let's see
how many different kinds of shapes of clams we can find. How
big do you think the biggest clam can get? Introduce the Giant
- The shapes
of clams tell us how they live. Can you guess from the shape
of this clam how it lives?
it streamlined or chunky?
it smooth or ribbed?
it light or heavy?
- Clams can
do much more than you think! Here's some of the things they can
you were a clam what would you eat? How would you feed?
next time you eat a clam, have a closer look at it. Try
to find out more about how it lives and what it eats.
are important to the ecosystem
are part of the food chain. Can
we think of some animals that might eat a clam? Some charismatic
animals to highlight: otters, sting rays, moon snails.
We all love to eat clams!
is your favourite clam?
- Do you
know where it comes from? How was it caught? Was it farmed?
- Do you
know what it eats? (Here is a good time to explain red
tide and other harmful algal blooms, etc and thus why
they shouldn't eat wild collected clams)
myths to dispel
- Can we
open this clam to check for pearls? Although all molluscs
can produce pearls, pearls used commercially come mostly from
farmed and not wild bivalves. Please don't vandalise our wild
clams in the vain hope of finding valuable pearls.
clams DO NOT trap divers in their shells. More
are not clams (Class Bivalvia), they are snails (Class
are sometimes NOT safe to eat. Explain red
tide and other harmful algal blooms, etc and thus why we shouldn't
eat wild collected clams.
Where to find clams? Many are stuck onto hard surfaces
such as rocks, jetty pilings, sea walls. Often wedged in cracks
and other cool wet spots. Some are tiny. Many clams dig into
the sand or mud, others are attached to the undersides of small
Be gentle! When overturning a rock to look at clams,
be gentle so as not to crush animals under the rock, and plants
living on top of the rock. Be sure to return the rock to exactly
the way you found it, and ensure the visitors also learn that
they should do this.
Don't disturb clams: Don't rip them off hard surfaces,
or dig them up from the ground. Try to point out features without
Don't kill live clams! Don't force open living clams.
Instead, use shells of dead clams (usually many can be found
washed up on the high shore) to illustrate any stories or concepts
you might have.