NJ Clams and the Shells you Find at the Beach
Who doesn't love a good bucket of clams to chow down on at the Jersey Shore? But here's a nightmare story about these clams.
Ever feel like you got lucky to find a clam shell along the shore with a perfectly round hole in it that you could thread a string through in order to hang that shell as a decoration or necklace? There is actually a violent reason for that!
The Atlantic Surf Clam is a familiar find along our beaches. But its large shell is no protection for the way that clam is drilled and killed in the big, bad sea! That hole you see...the one that looks perfectly round, is the result of a voracious predator with a drill-like tongue! What is this big, bad monster that preys on innocent clams?
That hole comes from the Atlantic Moon snail or the Shark Eye snail! Once one of these snails spots a clam, it attaches its foot and soft body to the clam, lets out a form of hydrochloric acid and enzymes to soften the clam's shell, and then uses it's spinning tongue covered with rasping teeth to create that neatly beveled hole!
Once the hole is through the shell, the snail sticks its tubular mouth inside the clam to devour it, eating it alive! Sounds like a horror movie!!! And this happens several times a day, day in and day out, since snails typically eat several times a day.
Compare that to your odds of being attacked and killed by a shark which is about one in 3.7 million!
Thank you to Claire and our wonderful friends at the NJ Sea Grant Consortium for all of this great info about sea life at the Jersey Shore. If you didn't read about the Starfish facts...they are pretty incredible, too!
CLICK HERE for 6 fun facts about the Starfish!