In case you had forgotten what a stellar black tiger maxima clam is supposed to look like . . . here’s some great shots of this clam to jog your memory. It’s been a long time since giant clams have been ‘hot’ in the marine aquarium hobby, and besides teardrop clams, black tiger maxima clams have always been one of the most highly sought after color morphs of Tridacna maxima.
This fantastic specimen of Tridacna maxima was photographed in Raja Ampat earlier this year. It was found on a shallow, rocky reef flat where a hard bottom environment varied from completely barren, to completely grown over by soft or stony corals. This was a perfect place to go looking for giant clams to photograph in their natural environment, but we never dreamed we’d encounter such an exceptional specimen of black and white T. maxima.
You can see from the in-situ photographs that where these clams occurred, they had little in the way of competition for space on the reef floor. And it’s not like we found hundreds of clams in one area; we only spotted a few dozen Tridacna crocea in the shallows, and about ten somber looking maxima clams at the intermediate depth of about six feet deep.
By comparison you can see a more typical maxima clam mantle appearance in the image inset at right. This larger maxima clam was starting to get sandwiched between two very similar looking species of semi-encrusting soft corals, with Sinularia pictured above, and Lobophytum pictured below. Its always a treat to see reef animals we love in their natural environment and even more special when we encounter the kind of stupendous specimen that we’ll never forget, like the monochromatic black & white tiger maxima featured here.