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Geoduck Clam
Panopea abrupta
"Whenever I visit the seacoast, I derive pleasure just knowing that several feet beneath my waterproof boots lies an animal quite possibly 90 years my senior, silently finishing a supper of diatoms and algae inhaled through its meter long neck."

David George Gordon,
"Field Guide to the Geoduck"

The geoduck clam (pronounced "gooe­duck") is the largest bivalve along Puget Sound and the largest burrowing clam in the world. Also one of the oldest animals in the world, geoducks can live as long as 146 years.  
Geoduck Gag

An old postcard pokes fun at gathering the geoduck. There are tales of geoducks weighing up to 20 pounds. In reality, most geoducks in Puget Sound weigh between 1 and 3 lbs. The maximum documented weight: 7.15 pounds.

Gobs of Geoducks

About 109 million adult geoducks are packed into Puget Sound's sediments ­ the biggest bunch of marine animals in the Sound. Puget Sound bays and estuaries harbor the highest density of geoducks in the continuous United States. Geoducks are most abundant in southern Puget Sound.

The geoduck lives in the sandy mud of the lower intertidal and subtidal zones. It is most often found at depths between 10 and 80 feet below the mean low tide mark. Geoducks have been recorded on videotape in Case Inlet at water depths of 360 feet.

Geoducks are harvested in deep waters by professional divers. Geoducks have been marketed in the United States as "king clam." Considered a delicacy in Asian countries along the Pacific, geoducks are also shipped to Taiwan.

 

Geoduck Facts

  • Home Body
    A developing geoduck burrows into sediment 1 foot per year. After digging about 3 feet deep, the adult geoduck settles in for 100 years or more.
  •  
  • Small Supper
    The geoduck feeds on phytoplankton (single-celled marine algae), mostly diatoms and flagellates.
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  • Siphon Stretch
    In burrowed adults, the siphon may stretch 39 inches to the sea bed.
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    Before You Dig For Geoducks
    or Any Other Shellfish...

    Protecting Geoducks & Water Quality

    What comes off your lawn and your boat could end up in geoducks and other shellfish. What you can do...

    Related Links

    Shellfish Committee Information - The 2007 Washington State Legislature passed SSHB 2220 relating to shellfish aquaculture.

    Recreational Shellfish Safety Information, Washington State Department of Health. Before you dig for shellfish, visit this web page.

    Shellfish Rules and Regulations, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Regulations and general information on shellfish harvesting.

    Clam Diggers: Why Fill in Your Holes? Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

    The Harmful Algae Page, National Science Foundation. What are harmful algae blooms? Test your knowledge. 

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    Comments? E-mail: Shellyne Grisham