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Tivela stultorum is a species of clam native to the Pacific coast of North America whose range extends between Monterey Bay, California and Socorro Island, Mexico. The clam is found in the intertidal zone of relatively flat beaches exposed to open surf. Due to its relatively short siphons, it typically buries itself six inches below the surface of the sand where it suspension-feeds. Its main sources of nutrition are dinoflagellates, bacteria, zooplankton, gametes and detritus. Physically, Tivela stultorum is characterized by its large size, along with valves which are shallower, heavier and more triangular than similar species. The clam is relatively important for human use as a food item and fishing restrictions have been implemented to protect its populations. Commercial clamming for Tivela stultorum in California was banned in 1947 so the majority of clams used in U.S. restaurants today are imported from Mexico.


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© Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Source: Field Museum phylogenetics class

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