Clam spotting

A pleasant afternoon in Maple Bay today.

Had an enlightening walk on the beach at low tide revisiting some of the bivalves of my youth, and a newcomer.

When I were a lass, the Manila clam (Venerupis philippinarum) was everywhere we poked our shovels; I remember chasing their spouts to gather a bucketful. They are colourful, with gradations of colour on the outside of their shells, and a line of purple on the inside. Gloriously tender when fresh, but not really that native: accidental immigrants from Japan in the 1930s who hitched a ride into our waters on oyster seed.

The unimaginatively named and rather pale cousin to the Manila, the good and hefty Native clam (aka Littleneck or Steamer or Protothaca staminea) has a healthy presence in ‘my’ bay.

Another you don’t see much is the Cockle, Clinocardium nuttallii.

Butter clams – surprisingly large, their size reflected in their Latin name: Saxidomus giganteus – tend to live deeper than Native and Manilas.

A newcomer from Japan, another freeloader (arriving in BC in the 1980s, in the ballast water of ships), the Mahogany (aka Purple Varnish or Nuttallia obscurata) is more fragile and therefore takes a beating in winter storms. The purple of the inner shell is more prominent the more freshly departed the clam. Lots of shells on the beach.

And then there were the starfish,

the sunfish,

and the flowers.

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