2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference


The Surface-Crawling Behavior of Pink Papershell Clams in the Chariton River
Julie A. Anderson
Dr. George L. Shinn, Faculty Mentor

The Pink Papershell is a common inhabitant of sandy parts of the Chariton River. The clams typically live buried several inches below the surface and are quite sedentary. Normally, their occurrence in a stretch of the river is evidenced only by the presence of empty shells along the banks of the river. During Fall of 2003 we found numerous live specimens partially exposed at the sediment surface. The goal of this ongoing study is to document the dynamics and ecological significance of this behavior. Some of the clams move fairly rapidly (several meters per hour) following a wandering path with an overall trajectory either downstream or cross-stream. Surface-crawling appears to expose the clams to greater likelihood of predation, but may be necessary in order for them to locate suitable microhabitats for long-term burial. A few specimens were not moving and appeared moribund, evidently afflicted by a lethal disease.

Keywords: clams, Pink Papershell, freshwater clams, Chariton River


Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 26-45
Location: OP Lobby & Atrium
Time: 1:15

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