Tridacna as pollution indicies


Premium Member
Premium Member
A year or so ago I read Yuri Sorokin's book and having a particular interest in clams I was particular interested when he mentioned clams as indicators of heavy metals. In answering a question in the past ( about the sudden death of healthy clams that seemed to have settled into the aquarium I raised the metals as a possible issue.

Tonight, while reading Fossa & Nilsen new volume I read the following "Another characteristic of are the strangely massive kidneys. which can make up about 15% of the weight of all internal organs. The kidneys remove toxic heavy metals, suchas zinc, copper, mercury, cadmium, and lead from the water. That meas that giant clams can be used as indicator organisms for heavy metal pollution in seawater (Denton & Windsor, 1986)."

Here are the details for the reference:

Denton G.R.W. and L. Winsor (1986) Giant Clams as Pollution Indicators. Oceanus 29 (2): 63.

I haven't been able to locate the journal or article for further reading but I thought it maybe an interesting indicator given that so many of us keep these animals.


In Memoriam
Hi Simon,

A lot of mollusks have been used as pollution indicators, as they will seem to sequester and hold - either in the kidneys or in the guts - heavy metals.

I have not seen the Denton and Windsor reference, but I have seen similar types of articles describing the accumulation of heavy metals in mussels (which are closely related to tridacnids) in temperate areas.

It is certainly possible, and even likely, that heavy metal accumulation and toxicity is effecting clams in aquaria.