Here’s some exciting news for us self-professed clam junkies. Acro Al, obviously a clam junky in his own right, has unveiled that he may have bred the newly discovered but yet to be officially named Tridacna ningaloo clam at his facility in Australia. Al, who has been breeding all sorts of clam species, broke the news with this photo via Facebook, and it’s exciting news not only for the aquarium community, but for the scientific community as well. This event may mark the first time the species has even been bred in captivity.
The ningaloo clam looks very similar to T. maxima, though it is genetically more similar to T. crocea and T. squamosa according to a recently published scientific paper, Description of a new species of giant clam (Bivalvia: Tridacnidae) from Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. This new species of clam hails from Ningaloo Reef, an area on the northwestern coast of Australia. Because the clam is so similar in appearance to the maxima clam, it is believed that it flew under the radar, so to speak, and has only just been discovered thanks to breakthroughs in genetic research.
From a conservation standpoint, the implications of this discovery could be fairly significant. Has scientists been counting T. ningaloo as T. maxima all this time, they could be seriously overestimating maxima clam populations. Additionally, this discovery only means one more clam to account for when thinking about conservation efforts.
So, congrats to Acro Al for another breakthrough.