Zoologger: Disco clam's light show is all about stayin' alive

(Image: Lindsey Dougherty) FOR disco clams, the party never stops. Their mesmerising light show makes it look as if there are lightbulb-like filaments flickering on and off inside their shells. The clams perform their flashy display more or less constantly on the reefs in the Indo-Pacific where they live, says Lindsey Dougherty at the University of California in Berkeley. She found that they use their mantle – a thin membrane around their body inside the shell – to reflect ambient light in their environment. One side of this mantle is coated in silica that catches the light, so the clam seems to produce brilliant flashes as it furls and unfurls it. “What everyone really wants to know is why they are flashing,” says Dougherty, who will be discussing the phenomenon at a meeting of the American Malacological Society in Pellston, Michigan, later this month. “Unfortunately it’s a really difficult question to answer.” Her team has found that the light show isn’t used to communicate with other clams or to attract plankton to eat. Instead, the clams may be trying to put off predators. But predation events are rarely seen, so finding evidence is hard. Dougherty hopes to identify aggressors from signs of attack on old shells she has collected, and introduce these predators to clams in the lab to see what happens. This article appeared in print under the headline “Disco clam is ah ha ha ha stayin’ alive” More on these topics:
  • 首页
  • 游艇租赁
  • 电话
  • 关于我们