Quahog Clam

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Project Description

Quahog Clam

Mercenaria mercenaria


Range/Geographical Distribution: Gulf of St. Lawrence to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.  Introduced in England.

Habitat: Shallow waters with sand or muddy bottoms.

Description: A dull gray clam with a thick shell that has closely spaced concentric lines.

Size: Can reach six inches in width.

Food: Filter feeder; eats plankton and detritus.

Breeding: Quahogs are protandric hermaphrodites, which means they are initially males and then about half of the clams change into females as they age.  Spawning occurs during the summer and the planktonic larvae are free floating for about two weeks before settling.

Predators: Crabs, fish, birds, and whelks.

Conservation Status: No legal status.  Recreational fishermen in GA are limited to one bushel of clams per person and per boat per day.

Interesting Facts: For harvesting, clams are classified by size.  Those that are two to three inches are called littlenecks, those three to four inches are termed cherrystones, and clams over four inches are quahogs, which are used mostly for stews and chowders.

On the Coast: Quahog clams are found buried in the sediment along the estuaries and beaches on Georgia’s coast.

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