The Coralline Clam is a new species of Tridacna giant clam has been found living in plain sight on the shallow reefs of the Solomon Islands. The very unusual clam species was discovered by Julian Sprung on some recent shallow diving when he noticed some abnormal movements of ‘coralline algae’. Upon closer inspection Mr. Sprung was surprised to see that the coralline algae was actually the mantle of a giant clam which was almost perfectly camouflaged to look like the pink stuff.
Not since Tridacna costata have we seen a new species of giant clam discovered, but it’s understandable how this one went unnoticed for so long. Although it seems that most new reef species being discovered these days come from deeper waters or remote unexplored regions, the new ‘Coralline Clam’ is specially adapted to live in very shallow water, in areas which are often too turbulent and wave-pounded for any divers or boats to approach.
On the Solomon Island expedition Julian only found three specimens of the Coralline Clam, one of which he was able to bring back alive while the other two were preserved for use in the holotype and paratypes in describing the new giant clam species. The Coralline Clam seems to be particularly rare in the Solomon Islands and further exploration is needed to determine the species’ exact geographic distribution.
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