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Spisula solidissima, the Atlantic surfclam, is a bivalve of the family Mactridae, and one of the largest and also longest-living Atlantic bivalve species, growing up to over two hundred millimeters in length and generally living past twelve years of age. Its shells are generally roughly trigonal in shape, with concentric striated ridges and a yellowish brown periostracum covering. One of its main morphological defining features is its partially exposed spisuloid ligament. Residing primarily in Northeastern U.S. coastal waters, with high densities off New Jersey and Long Island, it is generally found in turbulent coastal waters, or occasionally deeper areas of the surf zone, where it burrows within small aggregates of other surfclams and filter feeds. Within its ecosystem, Spisula solidissima consumes plankton while serving as a food source for many species of the local marine life. It is also one of the primary species of clam currently consumed in the U.S., and its population is considered safe at present due to fishing regulations.

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Field Museum of Natural History

Source: Field Museum phylogenetics class

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