Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Giant White Shell Wednesday

In my previous posting for "white shell Wednesday" I shared that the tiny Precious Wentletrap was my favorite white shell. (http://musingsofaseawitch.blogspot.com/2009/09/small-white-wednesday.html)

This "White Shell Wednesday" posting is about the largest mollusk on earth, the giant clam and a shell I would love to own one day.

The definitive shell for a mermaid, she can find so many uses for such a spectacular shell. This mollusk gets only one chance to find a nice home. Once it fastens itself to a spot on a reef, there it sits for the rest of its life. These bottom-dwelling behemoths are the largest mollusks on Earth, capable of reaching 4 feet in length and weighing more than 500 pounds. They live in the warm waters of the South Pacific and Indian oceans.
Giant clams achieve their enormous proportions by consuming the sugars and proteins produced by the billions of algae that live in their tissues. In exchange, they offer the algae a safe home and regular access to sunlight for photosynthesis, basking by day below the water's surface with their fluted shells open and their multi-colored mantles exposed. The white shells house the animal and like a snowflake, the mantle of this mollusk is different in each animal and are extraordinary in their color palettes.

Giant clams have a wildly undeserved reputation as man-eaters, with South Pacific legends describing clams that lie in wait to trap unsuspecting swimmers or swallow them whole. No account of a human death by giant clam has ever been substantiated, and scientists say its adductor muscles, used to close the shell, move far too slowly to take a swimmer by surprise. Even the largest specimen would simply retreat into its shell rather than attempt to sample human swimming by.

These marvelous shells have many decorative uses for display of favorite objects or converted to bath or wet bar sinks. One of my favorite blogs, French Blue,
http://frenchblue-frenchblue.blogspot.com/ showcases on their header (and sells) the scaly ruffled giant clam. Exquisite items for sale and if you have not visited this wonderful site, please do. You won't be disappointed.

French Blue header.

Have a gentle White Wednesday dear readers. Sea Witch