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‘Lima scabra’

‘Lima scabra’
The tentacles and mantle of a Lima scabra file clam filter feeding
Music, Video, and Aquarium
2010 Coral Morphologic

Lima scabra is a common resident on Floridian and Caribbean reefs where it can be found wedged in crevices, with only its long tentacles extending out into the water column. Usually these tentacles are crimson red (as seen in the specimen above), although they are occasionally white in color. Lima scabra can grow to about 3.5 (9cm) inches long.

Like most bivalves, Lima scabra is a filter feeder. It siphons water in through its fleshy mantle (seen in the video), and strains any edible particulate matter before pumping the water back it out. It holds itself semi-permanently in place through the use of ‘byssus threads’. The threads are formed by a viscous protein secretion that cures instantly upon contact with seawater. These byssus threads have captured the attention of bio-engineers who seek to replicate their strong adhesive properties for industrial applications. However, if the clam comes under attack from a predator, it is capable of detaching and swimming away. They can move surprisingly quick; swimming in fast, jerky movements, propelled by the repeated snapping-together of its shell.

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