This year proves to be quite interesting for the giant clams – two ‘new’ species of Tridacna clams described from different regions of the Indo-Pacific. It is unsurprising for a few reasons: 1) these species have been frequently mistaken as the widespread species, Tridacna maxima, 2) ‘cryptic’ species are possibly the most difficult of all to discern but much easier now with molecular techniques. Despite the close similarities of morphology and behavioural habits, researchers managed to figure out the differences amongst these species – the advances of molecular tools. A closer examination of its mantle patterns and shell morphology also revealed minor differences between species. Such studies prove important as these have conservation implications – Are we protecting the right species? Are species distributions as widespread as had initially thought? All in all, I’m hoping to put together a piece of work that examines these questions in greater detail to improve conservation value (and status) of all the giant clam species. 🙂
These works have been recently published and do have a look at them!
Su et al. (2014) Tridacna noae (Röding, 1798) – a valid giant clam species separated from T. maxima (Röding, 1798) by morphological and genetic data. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 62: 124-135.
Penny & Willan (2014) Description of a new species of giant clam (Bivalvia: Tridacnidae) from Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Molluscan Research 34(3): 201-211.