Associated Organisms

Certain species, such as wild specimens of T. maxima and T. squamosa, may have extensive growths of encrusting organisms on their shells. Check these growths to make sure there are no dead or necrotic areas that might foul your aquarium.

There are various parasitic snails that can be imported along with the clam. These will usually be visible as small rice grain-sized, cream coloured spots near the base of the shell or, at night, along the upper edge of the shell. If the clam is still attached to a rock check carefully underneath the clam by gently lifting it a short distance off of the rock and looking underneath for any small (2-5 mm long) snails. Check any potential purchases for these parasites and remove all of them. If you have the facilities, it would be wise to hold the clam separately before introducing it to your main aquarium to make sure all the snails were removed. Check also for

small, jelly-like masses on the shell. These are the egg masses of these snails and should be removed too. Do not confuse these with the jelly-like mass that some clams may excrete around their byssus opening. For a more detailed description of clam parasites and diseases see Chapter 10.

Occasionally symbiotic shrimp of the family Palaemondidae (Ancbistus, Concbodytes and Paranchistus) or small crabs, will be visible through the inhalant siphon in larger clams (Rosewater, 1965). These crustaceans live inside the clam and do not harm it. What they eat and what they do for the clam is unclear. They might defend the clam from potential predators or parasites, while using the clam as shelter (see "Pea Crabs", chapter 10).

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