The as-yet-unnamed giant clam species is what is known as a ‘cryptic’ species, which essentially means a species that looks similar to another but is in fact genetically distinct. The discovery of such a species can lead to a re-evaluation of the conservation status of giant clams in the region.
Mr Perry discovered the new species with the help of the Indigenous people of the Ningaloo region of the NT coastline, who have helped him uncover a total of four species of giant clam in the northern coastal waters. Previous to Mr Penny’s work, it was believed only one species, Tridacna squamosa, or the fluted giant clam, inhabited the area.
Mr Penny, along with a team of researchers from Queensland University, hope that this latest work will lead to greater protection of giant clam species against illegal harvesting, ensuring this new species will be able to stave off extinction.
[img source] N. Wootton (CCA2.0) bit.ly/SUYZt7