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Clams are shelled marine or freshwater mollusks. The term "clam" is often used to refer to any bivalve (a mollusk whose body is protected by two symmetrical shells) that is not an oyster, mussel, or a scallop, and that has a more-or-less oval shape. An exception is the razor clam, which has an elongate shell that suggests an old-fashioned straight razor. Clams can live up to 150 years old - or perhaps longer (science suspects that some larger quahogs found off the East Coast of the US may be 200 years old).


Hard or Soft? Clams can be hard-shelled or soft-shelled, according to the degree of calcification of their shells, according to species. They are eaten raw, steamed, boiled, baked or fried, again (often) according to species. Clam chowder is a popular soup in the U.S. in which clams figure strongly.

Floating down the river current... The mating habits of clams varies according to the waters in which they live. In river clams, the male releases sperm into the water and the river current carries it downstream. The female then draws sperm in to fertilize eggs still inside her body.

Mating tip to males - stay upstream! Fertilization odds are poor unless the male is upstream of the female. For ocean clams, the male also expels sperm, however the female releases the eggs from her body into the surrounding water. Fertilization occurs only when the eggs float near the sperm.

One adult survivor to tens of thousands of babies During a breeding season, a female clam makes tens of thousands of baby clams. Probably only one settles to the bottom and survives to adulthood.

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 Kingdom: Animalia

 Phylum: Mollusca

 Class: Bivalvia