This is a giant clam. It is also called pā’ua or taklobo in other countries. Its scientific name is Tridacna gigas, which I think is funny sounding. It lives in shallow coral reefs in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. The largest clam ever found was 4.49 feet long and weighed 550 pounds, and you can see its shells at the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland. But the one in this picture isn’t that big. We saw it at The Seas pavilion at Epcot. Many people think that they eat people, but they don’t. They actually eat algae and plankton. The giant clam and the algae have the strangest symbiotic relationship in the world. The clam’s mantle provides a habitat for the algae, but then the clam eats the algae. The mantle is really brightly colored, which confuses predators and filters the sun’s UV rays.
The giant clam’s status is vulnerable, and it is one of the most endangered clams. It is considered a delicacy in some countries, and people used to buy the shells for decoration. Today there are hatcheries releasing them back into the wild.