Common Name: Giant clam

Scientific Name: Tridacna gigas


Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum:  Molluska

Class:  Bivalvia   

Order:  Veneroida

Family: Tridacnadae

Genus: Tridacna

Species: T. gigas

The Tridacna gigas (giant clam) is the largest living bivalve mollusk. The shell may reach up to 1.5 meters in length. These invertebrates can weigh up to more than 500lbs (227kg).  They can be characterized by having 4 to 5 inward facing triangular projections. Every single giant clam has its own unique way of looking. The giant clam may have spots on it or it may be pale. Their mantle (an organ of the giant clam that covers the clam's body) may be golden brown, yellow or green with many iridescent blue, purple or green spots, especially around the mantle edges.


The Tridacna gigas is found throughout the Tropical Indian-Pacific Oceanic region. From the South China seas to the northern coasts of Australia to the Nicobar Islands in the west to Fiji in the East. Giant clams occupy coral reef habitats typically 20 meters from the surface. Most are found in shallow lagoons or reef flats. They are typically embedded in the sandy substrates or those composed of coral rubble.  In the picture below the yellow and tan color represents where the giant clams are usually found. Some of the Tridacna gigas are held in aquariums to be studied. The places where they could be found are the Ecological Situation of the Giant Clam and Captive Propagation.


Giant clams reproduce sexually. The males expel its sperm and fertilize the eggs in the sea. This fertilization takes place in open waters. After the sperm and the egg meet they create what the picture shows below. The life cycle starts with the two parents and then their offspring continue their development. It goes through larval rearing and continues growing into a juvenile clam, then it goes out into the beautiful wide open sea where the cycle repeats itself.


To tell you the truth, these animals are absolutely nowhere close to being extinct. Because of their enormous weight, many people can’t pull them up to shore to be able to enjoy them. Many people that are interested in the giant clams have tried to study them. Those who got lucky, and were able to actually study them closely, found a reason why some giant clams die. Some say they die because they can not fasten themselves on to a coral reef quickly and they get swept away. Another reason that the Tridacna gigas die is that they carry diseases. Some diseases are caused by Environmental damage, Infectious diseases, and Damage from Macroparasites and fish.


Another common name for the Tridacna gigas is the Killer Clam. Some people prefer  that name because to them it is easier to remember. Something else that  is very interesting is that their has never been an actual report of a death by a giant clam.  Maybe because if you got caught by giant clam you would be dead in a few seconds, they can actually eat you whole!!  Another interesting fact is that when their predators, rays and sharks hunt it, the giant clam hides under the sand. By far the thing that makes this bivalve special is its massive size and weight.



Author: Marissa A

Published: 2/2008



"Giant Clam, Giant Clam Profile, Facts, Information, Photos, Pictures." http://animals. National National Geographic. 15 Jan. 2008 <http://animals>.


"Giant Clam." 16 Jan. 2008 <>.

Tervo, Kari, and Rebecca A. Csomos. "Tridacna Gigas-Giant Clam." University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. 17 Jan. 2008 Error! Hyperlink reference not valid..

Daniel Knop. “Giant Clams; A Comprehensive Guide to the

Identification and Care of Tridacnid Clams.“ 15 Feb.2008


Photo credit:

From web sites

Tridacna_gigas.jpg349 x 306 | 28.6kB

And unknown

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