FreshWater Clams: Characterisctics, reproduction, behavior and more

The freshwater clams are long-lived mollusks, that can reach up to 10 years of life. They are, as any of the other species of  clams, bivalve mollusks which have their origin in the main European freshwater basins,  and part of Western Asia. This species belongs to the Unionidae family

The Freshwater Clams’ Main Characteristics

Among their main characteristics, it worth mentioning  that they reach a length between 8 centimeters and up to 15 centimeters.

These clams, outstand among other species;  for having the  capacity to withstand very cold temperatures, almost close to freezing. On the other hand, their high life expectancy, which is  around 10 years of age, represents another distinctive  feature in these creatures.

freshwater clams morphologyThe freshwater clams  are considered filtering animals,  since they have the ability to filter at least two liters of water per hour.

This is done as a feeding method, since the freshwater clams get their nutrients from particles that are in suspension after filtering water.

This is a  very useful characteristic of these mollusk, when they are employed as pets in domestic aquariums,  since it won´t be necessary to give them any special food. They will be able to get it in the environment, from the other creatures that inhabit there.

On the other hand in relation to their appearance, it is noted that their  shells  are divided into two equal parts;  that is to say in two symmetrical parts.

However, these shells are sensitive to compounds or toxic substances in the environment;  as for example the cooper.Therefore they are animals that are not fit to live in environments where some contamination may occur.

The Freshwater Clams’ Common Behavior

Now, regarding the behavior of freshwater clams, it is known that these mollusks are considered apathetic animals. Even when they react to the light, they proceed to close their shells.

Another outstanding aspect in terms of behavior, is that the freshwater clams , in few cases proceed to make large movements. They remain in the same place for long time; so  in the case of having them as pets it is difficult to identify when they die for this reason.

 The Freshwater Clams’ Common Habitats

As in the case of other clam species,  freshwater clams also live clinging to the substrate or buried in the surface of the aquatic bottom. They usually prefer sandy surfaces , so if you consider having one of these mollusks as a pet,  it’s  essential that the habitat is adapted to their  needs, that is, with a substrate of around 8 centimeters and enough sand to remain hidden or buried. Ponds,  canals,  lakes, rivers, and swamps, are the most common natural habitat of these bivalves

freshwater clams varieties

How do Freswater Clams Reproduce?

Regarding the studies applied to the reproduction habits of this species, its behavior is based on  searching for another freshwater clam, in order to reproduce their small larvae. Thus, the process consists in incubating the gametes ( sperms, and ovules) into other clam, through an  organ known as a siphon.

Now, once the incubation  process is carried out,  the hatching begins taking roughly three weeks. After these processes, the larvae are able to abandon the protection that was provided by the shell; since they have developed  their own shells, which resemble  a cyst.

After completing the developing processes;  they detach this shell; getting finally the figure of an adult clam.

Finally, we must mention that in this species, unlike other clam species; both sexes do occur, while the female is the one who receives the sperm substance to perform fertilization in her body.

Finally, we have this interesting video for you, about the characteristics of  the freshwater clams


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