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Softshell Clam
Softshell Clam
Softshell Clams

About About softshell clams

Softshell clams occur in almost all of Oregon’s estuaries and their range can extend very high into the estuary. In Coos Bay, for example they are found commonly in places as far as 30 miles from the ocean inlet.

Softshell clams are native to the East coast, where they are an important commercial fishery. They are believed to have been introduced to Oregon in the late 1800s, timed with the attempt to begin a fishery for the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).

Species profile

softshell and gaper comparison

Softshell/ Gaper comparison

Unlike gaper clams (bottom), softshell clams (top) have no gape on their neck end.

softshell chondrophore

Spoon shaped chondrophores

Softshell clams have a spoon like projection on the left valve, this feature is called a chondrophore.

gaper shell

Erosion and softshell clams

When tidal channels re-route, softshell clams are often affected. Softshell clams live very high in the intertidal areas and the density of beds becomes obvious when these changes take place.

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