Clams live on the bottom of the ocean and they are classed as bivalve mollusks. Clams are constantly looking for something to eat – when the clam pops open, a long siphon, also called a “neck”, comes out to suck the food down the long neck into the clam.
What does a clam eat?
Well, let’s find out! A variety of food consists of the smallest animal life and organisms. Clams are known as filter feeders, which means that the clams pump water through their bodies to capture microscopic organisms that float along the bottom of the ocean which is also called plankton. Clams also eat phytoplankton, zooplankton, algae and copepods. The clams get their nutrients out of the plankton they eat – and you know what, that’s not everythin
A clam’s siphon
There are three main things that the long neck or siphon of the clam does – breathing, finding food, and eliminating waste products. Since clams can’t move that much, they are often seen burrowing into the sand or being pushed along by the currents. Their siphon or neck acts like a snorkel would for a human being and the siphon is considered their lifeline. Inflowing water is pumped through the siphon, pushed over the gills, and strained to remove the food particles that are left inside the clam while it is eating. After releasing carbon dioxide from the gills and waste products from the digestive tract, the water is expelled through the outgoing siphon. The siphon itself is a double-tubed siphon which one end pulls in the water while the other end pushes the dirty water out of the clam. Constant circulation of the water through the clam’s double-tubed siphon is by the beating of the multitude of microscopic hairs called the cilia. The cilia are located inside the tube and gill chamber of the clam.
A clam’s byssus
Certain types of clam, in the early stages of their lives, have a gland that produces a thin glue-like material called byssus that serves to anchor the clam to either rocks or grains of sand. There are other types of clams that lack the byssal gland and they anchor themselves to grains of sand or rocks by the use of a foot that burrows into the sand. As the clam grows and gets older, the foot expands and contracts as the clam is moved along the bottom of the ocean. The foot becomes an important tool used for burrowing into the sand.