Since the dawn of human civilization, much has been written about the sheer adrenaline-pumping excitement of clams, scallops, cockles, but today’s digital age has cranked-up that heart-pounding thrill to 11. If these five gifs don’t rock the pleasure centers of your cerebrum like being at front-stage of a Whitesnake concert, they may just pop an artery instead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
1) Cockles got feet, and they know how to use ’em. This isn’t a tongue, or some other fleshy pink appendage, but rather a foot, and a long, distensible, and flexible one at that. When in the sand, this foot extends deep into the sediment, and as it contracts, it pulls the shell down into the sand beyond the eyes of its predators. When you dine on cockles, this is what you eat.
2) Trippy aquatic castanets? Ghost shell from a Japanese horror movie? Nope, this is a scallop doing what scallops do for much of their life – trying to get the heck away from a predator. Unlike cockles that hide beneath the sand, the muscular adductor that snaps the shell shut creates a jet of water that moves them in short, jerky blasts through the water. While their escape plan isn’t all that great, it may just be good enough to get out of the path of slow-moving starfish, their most feared predators.
3) You can almost hear the thumping oonce oonce oonce rave beats where the disco clam lives. It’s not really a clam at all, but a very flamboyant bivalve called the Electric Flame Scallop. Their light show pulsates within the fleshy mantle, making small mesmerizing blasts of light. Unlike most respectable sea creatures, they don’t generate bioluminescence, instead they reflect ambient light through a thin layer of silica microspherules embedded in their flesh, making the light appear as electrical currents in that outer layer of skin. The hot-pink feather boa of tentacles may give them additional glam-rock cred, but they also contain distasteful sulfur compounds, so the blinking lights may give potential predators a fair warning for the subsequent mouthful of regret.
4) Octopus are (literally) cold-blooded killers, and they’ve got a whole toolkit of ways to subdue different kinds of prey. With clams, they grasp the shell with their tentacles, and using a sharp tooth-studded tongue, drill a small hole through the shell and inject a paralytic venom. The drugged clam relaxes its grip and they octopus can easily pry the shell open. With the former tenant now lunch and just a fading memory, the octopus takes over the clam’s home and uses the thick shell for protection from its own predators, keeping one eye open for danger.
5) Squee Alert! Bears and clams rarely meet, but when they do the results can be sickeningly adorable. Grizzly bears along the Pacific Coast often forage for marine invertebrates at low tide, and have even been seen pawing through the sand for clams. This young grizzly is learning the art of clam digging, yet hasn’t perfected the technique, and now has a huge cockle clamped to one of its claws. You’re Welcome!