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Mercenaria mercenaria
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Mercenaria mercenaria
Taxonomic Group: Mollusks-Bivalves
Common name: HARD CLAM


Mercenaria mercenaria is commonly known as the Hard Clam or the Northern Quahog. It is a large bivalve (up to 150 mm) which can be found in sandy to muddy habitats from the mid-intertidal to about 18 m depth. It is native to the East Coast of North America from southern Florida to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It is an important commercial shellfish species in its native range and has been widely transported with oysters or stocked officially and unofficially at a number of locations around the world. Introduced populations are known from the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico, California, Hawaii, Japan, China, Atlantic Europe and the Mediterranean. In many invaded areas, it is restricted to small, confined reaches of estuaries, which probably limits its economic or ecological impacts. However, dense populations could have substantial impacts by filtering phytoplankton and excreting nutrients, as was seen in the Colorado Lagoon, California.

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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