The Giant Clam Essay Research Paper The

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The Giant Clam Essay, Research Paper The giant clam is known as a reef dwelling mollusk. The domestication factor has become of large importance to the Indo-Pacific peoples. Mainly in the area of their diet. These huge clams are huge targets for fishermen and can be found easily. With the crystal water complection of the reef waters they live in makes them even easier to be spotted by the fishermen an by poachers. The people of this region eat every part of the flesh of the animal. They either dry, cook, or eat them raw. In Taiwan there has been a large illeagal industry of selling these huge clams. With a demand of somewhere around 100 tons of the meat a year that is worth around $7.50- $21.25 a kilogram at the dockside of Taiwan. It is being severely poached by foreigners

and the population of the giant clam is decreasing. The reefs that they live on are also being severely damaged and destroyed in large amounts. The giant clam has been eliminated from the areas of Indonesia and the Phillippines. The species Tridacnid gigas and the Tridacnid derasa are the most heavily hunted species. Tridacnid gigas are the largest of the giant clams. They grow to around a meter in length and weigh around 300 kilograms. These particular clams are hermaphrodites which reach sexual maturity at around five years of age. They spray out large numbers of their eggs and sperm into the seawater which then meet to form a free floating larvae. A large Tridacnid gigas has the ability to release hundreds of millions of microscopic eggs in a single day, which makes it one of

the most fertile marine invertebrates. However most of the free floating larvae do not survive during their one week planktonic period. The ones that survive settle on a patch of hard reef by means of a sticky byssal threads and orient their fleshy mantles towards the sun. They continue to grow their at a rate of around five to ten centimeters a year. But they are not safe from other reef predators until they are around 2.5 years old, which makes this large species hard to find. About 100 of the original eggs will eventually become a full grown clam, but that number is much lower in dense and exploited areas of a reef. Usually they will continue to grow in that spot for several decades. There is also never any paternal care and the clam will probably move anywhere but deeper in

the sand. In the Asia Pacific area there are many groups of scientists artificially cultivating these large clams in an effort to learn more about this rare and extremely over hunted and captured creature.