It’s been a very productive year for giant clam news with two new species recently described, and no sooner do we get to share the first good aquarium look at the devil giant clam, Tridacna mbalavuana, now we have another series of another individual of these mythical beasts up close.
This gorgeous and large Devil Clam was also collected by Ecological Reef Farms Tonga which seems to have a penchant for where this clam is found. Unlike the first Devil Clam we showed you recently, this specimen is particularly attractive with a gorgeous psychedelic network of concentric lines making a pattern that is unlike any other species that we are familiar with.
That being said, both the first devil clam from Ecological Reef Farms Tonga and this one have patterns that are reminiscent of what one might see in some specimens of Tridacna derasa, the species which is most closely related to T. mbalavuana. The other feature of this devil clam which is quite striking is how narrow its shell is, and how its mantle only extends to the edge of the shell, a distinguishing feature for this species.
We have seen underwater footage of this species in Tonga and since it is such a deepwater specialist, it has to open its shell valves extra wide in order to collect enough light to power the internal algae farms from which it derives its energy to live, grow and reproduce.
So far we have only really seen large adult specimens of Tridacna mbalavuana, and we have to wonder if this is because the juveniles are much harder to find or if this species is really so rare that the adults are just few and far between. We’ll be keeping an eye on the Tonga giant clam space as we’d love to see more and smaller specimens of the Devil clam in the future.