22 February, 2014

Mysterious Slither-Like Geoduck Clams Stranded On Cornish Beach Following Storms

Seagulls in Cornwall

The mystery deepens of the Slither like shell creatures I spotted on a Cornish Beach. Most of them are now gone, the fleshy parts devoured by scavenging seagulls (photo above).

Christin from Seattle, WA, USA suggested that they may well be a type of geoduck clam. This is fine but, from what I've read on Wikipedia, "the geoduck is native to the west coast of North America." This is a very long way from Cornwall in the south west of England.

It's true we have had some exceptionally big storms and high tides crashing into our shoreline, so perhaps this has somehow transported the geoducks from far afield. But that does seem unlikely.

Geoduck on Cornish beach
My photo of the Mysterious Shell Creatures found on a Cornish Beach
I went back to the beach but most of the clams - or whatever they are called - have now disappeared. Only a few of the shells remain.

Here's a little more info from Wikipedia on geoducks:

"The geoduck 'gooey duck', scientific name Panopea generosa, is a species of very large, edible, saltwater clam in the family Hiatellidae. The common name is derived from a Lushootseed (Nisqually) word gʷídəq meaning 'dig deep'.

The geoduck is native to the west coast of North America. The shell of the clam ranges from 15 centimetres (5.9 in) to over 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in length, but the extremely long siphons make the clam itself much longer than this: the 'neck' or siphons alone can be 1 metre (3.3 ft) in length. The geoduck is both one of the largest clams in the world, and one of the longest-lived animals of any type. As adults they have very few predators other than humans."

The geoduck is a burrowing clam and I've read that they were the inspiration for the slug-like alien parasites of the 2006 movie Slither.

Slither

I therefore hope any remaining geoduck clams left on our Cornish beach aren't making their way inland and into our bathrooms and ...

But for anyone who should find one, here's how to cook them (though I'll pass on this being a vegetarian!)


Photos © Mike Perry

Other Cornwall Posts And Mysteries:
The Mysterious Shell Creatures On Cornish Beach
10 Mystery Posts About Cornwall
The Granite Dinosaur And Turtle Guarding Helman Tor Cornwall

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7 comments:

  1. Very interesting but only watched some of the video. When he pulled the skin off the clam's tentacle, yuk!

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    1. It didn't exactly appeal to me either!

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  2. Yuck is my choice of words, too! What a strange looking critter!

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  3. Wow, wish I had a piece of that, especially fried!!!

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  4. I'd never seen such creatures before they were washed up on our local beach.

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  5. Hmm. I found some shells like this today. Could they be long neck clams? I've seen them in Wales before.

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  6. Hi!
    I know it`s been a while since you wrote this post, but I happened to come along the shell picture as I was searching for " seashells in Cornwall" on Google (my husband and I are going to Cornwall next sommer). The shell on your picture is called common otter shell (lutraria lutraria), and is sometimes found on exposed beaches after storms. Here is a link:
    http://www.ecomare.nl/en/encyclopedia/organisms/animals/invertebrates/molluscs/bivalves-group/common-otter-shell/
    I have found them a few times in Norway and Denmark after storms.
    The fleshy thing sticking out of the shell are actually the siphons, which they breath and feed through.

    All the best from Benedikte, Norway.:)

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