Hard Clam (Mercenaria mercenaria)

hard clam

The hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) often occurs in dense groups, but does not form reefs like its cousin the oyster.

The hard clam, also known as the northern quahog, is common in South Carolina estuaries (where rivers meet the sea). This bivalve is often located on muddy bottoms in waters as deep as 45 feet. It moves through the mud using a muscular foot. The hard clam often occurs in dense groups, but does not form reefs like its cousin the oyster. The hard clam feeds mainly on phytoplankton (microscopic plants), which it filters from the water. It is eaten by various crabs, birds, and fish. The hard clam is harvested commercially and recreationally in South Carolina.