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February 22, 2013

A collection of giant clams which were seized by customs officials has gone on display at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay.

The southern giant clams, which can grow up to 60cms in length, were part of a large consignment which was intercepted and confiscated after they were illegally imported in to the country.

They were initially transferred to ZSL London Zoo where aquarists have been looking after them since their seizure.

After spending time in the aquarium’s quarantine, the fist-sized shellfish have gone on display in the aquarium’s tropical coral reefs area. Blue Reef Aquarium’s Chloe Kingston said: “We collected five of the giant clams over the weekend and they are all doing really well. This particular species is one of the largest types of giant clam in the world. They are also known as the smooth giant clam as their shell lacks the deep ridges of other species. However it is only once they have fully opened that you really get to see the extraordinary colour and markings of the actual animal itself.

All five of the clams are around the size of a fist or larger and although they are already pretty impressive they are likely to get much bigger as full grown adults can be up to 60 cms long. As well as their great size it is also thought they can reach a great age with some wild specimens living for more than 100 years.”. she added…

Found in waters around Australia, Cocos Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vietnam, the giant southern clam uses a symbiotic algae to produce food via photosynthesis.

The clam has been designated as being ‘Vulnerable’ in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

A ‘Vulnerable’ species is one which is likely to become ‘Endangered’ unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews, picture or filming opportunities please contact Jenni Smith on 01637 878134.