Clam shells – what are they? According to Wikipedia, clam shell or bivalve shell is part of the body, the exoskeleton or shell, of a bivalve mollusk. In life, the shell of this class of mollusks is composed of two parts, two valves which are hinged together. Bivalves are very common in many kinds of saltwater habitats, but they are also found in brackish water and in fresh water. Not much is to be revealed by this description really till one gets to know them better. There are many different types of clam shells but the one I am fascinated by is Maxima Clam also known under the name of Small Giant Clam.
We are so privileged to have a large variety of clam shells or Maxima Clams in our lagoon, just on our doorstep on the reef opposite Tijara Beach. I cannot stop taking photos every time I go snorkelling, I recognise the ones I have seen before and am always glad to see the new ones! It is nice to see some really small clams – juveniles – which means that we will be seeing more amazing shells in the future. There are some stunning shells with vibrant colours and if you hang around without too much movement you will be the lucky one to see even more amazing colours inside when it opens up and lets you peep inside! You are left to wonder why such bright colours exist underwater where they are left to be admired only by fish and, I guess, by me 🙂
When we tell our new guests about things to see on our reef, everyone gets really excited about seeing tropical fish and corals, about possibility to see an eel and a variety of sea urchins. Not many really react to my usually very enthusiastic story about our clam shells till… till they come snorkelling with us! I love seeing people being infected by my love for these fantastic animals and wanting to buy an underwater camera to come to Tijara next time fully prepared! I am always happy to share my underwater photos with anyone interested and our Dropbox have been working overtime at times! But I love the fact that having come to magical Africa for a great adventure on the safari and having decided to tag a few days at the end to unwind on the beach, our guests get introduced to a whole new world of marine wildlife which is much less known than our Big 5 and which they have not expected to see
If you want to see more pictures please visit Clam Shells gallery in this blog
P.S. Interesting fact: The juvenile clam shells mature into male clams after two or three years, becoming a hermaphrodite when larger (at around 15 centimetres in length). Hermaphroditic clams release their sperm first followed by the eggs later, thereby avoiding self-fertilisation. Read more about clam shells in Wikipedia here