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Scientists Discover Giant Clam, Known as the “Unicorn of Mollusks”

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The Kuphus polythalamia, or shipworm, has eluded scientists and sailors for hundreds of years. Many shell fragments or dead specimens have been discovered and preserved, but recently a live subject has been captured, according to Google News.

Wooden ships are buffets to these animals, the evidenced by sunken ships showing holes all over the planks. The first research done on these animals was in 1758, in hopes of stopping damage to vessels from these creatures, as upon inspection, captains’ ships would have holes in one place or another, stated The Washington Post.

“I’ve been studying shipworms since 1989 and in all that time I had never seen a living specimen of Kuphus polythalamia,” Daniel Distel, a co-author of the new study and the director of Northeastern. The initial impression is that a shipworm has a roughly three-foot-long tubular shell. Although not actually worms, they are part of the mollusk family. They were given the name, “shipworm,” because their appearance was that of a large worm, reported The Washington Post.

A Kuphus polythalamia, when not feeding on boats, resides in mud banks, with the majority of its elongated body under the ground. The main area where the mollusk lives are in the Philippines, where in April of 2017, a research team took a live one out of the mud and brought it back to land to study, according to eucoprimo.com.

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The student news site of Bernardo Yorba Middle School
Scientists Discover Giant Clam, Known as the “Unicorn of Mollusks”