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Invertebrate Characteristics

Eukaryotic, heterotrophic animals that lack a vertebral column and bony skeleton.

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Are Clams Rude?
Teacher Contributed

That's not a tongue! That's a foot!

A Giant Clam (Tridahna gigas)

Why It Matters

This video made a sensation on the internet

The "tongue" you see in the video is actually the clams "foot". This is the same body part Gastropods (another class of Mollusk) use to crawl and the part that people eat when the eat clams. It just looks like a tongue. Clams use their foot to dig into sediments and bury themselves. They can also use their foot to move horizontally through the sediments to avoid predators....these are some strong feet! 

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If you need help scratching a mental itch, use the resources below:

  1. Unlike some bivalves (e.g. oysters, scallops, mussels), most clams bury themselves in sediments. How may this lifestyle affect their response to decreasing pH in the worlds oceans?
  2. How do Giant Clams (Tridacna gigas) benefit from having symbiotic algae in their tissues?
  3. Not all clams have symbiotic algae, why would symbiotic algae be less useful to clams that bury themselves?
  4. What other type of microorganism could help buried clams achieve their energy requirements?

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