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Razor Clam Behavior


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Razor clam behavior


When the tide recedes, razor clams are left below dry sand and often leave a trademark hole, dimple, or indentation. This is commonly referred to as a "show."

The show is caused by the clams feeding or respiration loosening the sand above its neck. The size of the clam and distance from the surface dictates its appearance. Of course, they aren’t always that easily seen. Often they will show up more like the one in the image on the lower right.

nearly a limit
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If you are lucky, a pounding of the shovel handle will reveal a show and if you are really lucky your efforts may reveal multiple shows.

Once in a lifetime you may see results like this:

razor show
Typical razor clams show
razor show
Show not easily seen


When razors are feeding, their incurrent siphons are out. This behavior is commonly known as “necking”.

When seen in a thin layer of receding surf small “V’s” can be seen where their siphons break the surface of the water.

If you are lucky enough to be clamming when they are feeding, finding and digging razors is made very easy.

razor neck
Razor clams incurrent siphon at work

The V shape created by razor clam necks can be seen in this video:


razor neck
V shape created by razor clam necks


As anyone who’s dug razor clams can tell you… they dig fast!

Unlike many bay clams which remain sedentary, razor clams can dig to avoid birds, crabs, fish, or humans. Razor clams can dig to a depth of nearly four feet!

The image on the right shows a razor clam propelling water out its excurrent siphon to begin the contraction and expansion of the foot for movement.

razor digging
razor clam propelling water

Show pop

Hitting the handle of your shovel near a razor clam “pops” the clam and you can see distinctly that it is a razor. This is frequently done by diggers to decipher razor shows from similar appearances in the sand such as mole crabs, sand worms and other indentations.


show pop
Burried Crab



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