Image Source: Smithsonian.com
Wood makes its way into the ocean in a variety of ways and eventually becomes food for a certain species living deep in the ocean.
As it settles on the ocean floor in its final resting space a certain species of clams begin to burrow into it.
Just like other clams, these wood-boring clams have two shells that protect a small, soft body. However, these clams also have extra long siphons, which are long tube-like organs that pull in food for the calms to digest. Wood-clams use their bodies to scrape off bits of wood from their home, then filter the wood bits through their siphon to digest it. It is an ingenious way to feed themselves. Plus, they are only one of a select group of animals that can digest wood.
According to Janet Voight, the lead author of the study, “There’s not just one tree-cleaner-upper in the ocean, they’re really diverse. Imagine living at the bottom of the ocean as a tiny swimming clam; you either have to find a sunken piece of wood or die. You wouldn’t think there’d be that many kinds of clams doing this. But we’ve now found that there are six different groups, called genera, and around sixty different species.”
It is an exciting discovery and an interesting lifestyle for these clams.
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