Hard Clam

Mercenaria mercenaria

Image by NOAA Photo Library on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Physical: Hard clams, known as Quahogs are bivalves. Adults average 10 cm wide, and can be various shades of gray. The interior of the shell is smooth and various shades of purple.

Habitat: M. mercenaria can survive a wide variety of conditions. The species is tolerant of salinities as low as 15 parts per thousand. They range from exposed tidal flats to depths of 60 ft.

Feeding: Hard clams are filter-feeders. They circulate water through their bodies by means of a siphon system, and filter out edible organic materials.

Breeding: The quahog is an r-strategist. Reproduction is sexual and achieved through the dispersal of gametes into the water column. The gametes are filtered by females, and fertilization takes place.

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