name = Ark clam
image_width = 250px
image_caption = "
Arca zebra" shell.
familia = Arcidae
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = See text
Ark clams is the
common namefor a family of small to large-sized edible saltwater clams or marine bivalve molluscs in the family Arcidae. Ark clams vary both in shape and size. They number about 200 species world-wide.
The shell of ark clams is often white or cream, but sometimes, in different species, the shell is striped with, tinted with, or completely colored with, a rich brown. In life the shell of most species has a thick layer of brown
periostracumcovering the harder calcareous part of the shell. In some genera such as " Barbatia", the periostracum can be tufted at the end of the shell into something that resembles a beard, hence the name "Barbatia" or bearded one.
The group is known as "ark shells" because genera such as "Arca" have a large flat area in front of the umbo, which, in an intact shell, can somewhat resemble a deck, with the rest of the shell perhaps resembling an ancient keeled boat such as
Noah's arkis thought to have been.
All ark shells have a long straight hinge line with a single row of numerous small and unspecialized "teeth". This is known as a "taxodont dentition" and represents an ancient lineage. This kind of hinge line is also found in the bivalve families
Glycymerididae, Nuculidaeand Nuculanidae.
The thick outer skin or
periostracumof an ark clam can act as camouflage, such that the shells can sometimes look like stones when lying on the bottom.
Large ark clams, such as "
Arca zebra", are commonly used as bait, as well as food, throughout the Caribbean.
* "Acar" Gray, 1857
Anadara" Gray, 1847
Barbatia" Gray, 1847
Bathyarca" Kobelt, 1891
Bentharca" Verrill and Bush, 1898
Samacar" Iredale, 1936
* [http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=79326 ITIS]
* [http://shells.tricity.wsu.edu/ArcherdShellCollection/Bivalvia/Arcidae.html Archerd Shell Collection, Ark clams]
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