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中国瓷蛤,世上最珍贵的巨型蛤类

2018-11-29 18:00| 发布者: admin| 查看: 19| 评论: 0

 

中国瓷蛤,毫无疑问是世上存活的最珍贵的蛤类,它的活动范围非常有限,仅次于魔鬼蛤,但在发现这种物种的地方极为罕见。不幸的是,中国瓷蛤美丽的外壳和浅水栖息地使它很容易被捕获,或作为食物,或作为装饰品。

 

我们追踪并研究这种生物超过20年了,本周早些时候,我们终于见到了这种神秘的生物,亲眼目睹了这种蛤与更为常见、分布更为广泛的河马蛤有多大的不同。


 

遗憾的是,我们并没有在天然珊瑚礁石上发现这种野生的蛤蜊——相反,我们参观了帕劳的一个蛤蜊养殖场,去看它们在天然的蛤蜊牧场里饲养的几种蛤蜊品种。在帕劳群岛的珊瑚礁附近,人们看到了许多河马蛤,但是没有野生的中国瓷蛤被发现。

 

奇怪的是,仅在这个农场,每年就有成千上万的人饲养河马蛤,而且它是许多帕劳人重要食物来源。与此同时,中国瓷蛤的饲养难度大得多,过去几年只有一种被繁殖出来。


河马蛤

 

中国瓷蛤

 

由于这种海水养殖技术的瓶颈,让我们对无法大批量养殖这种稀有的蛤蜊而感到沮丧,希望这种蛤蜊能在人类无法企及的地方大量生长着。尽管如此,二十多年前,当我还是一个刚刚崭露头角的海洋动物学家,对这种生物有所了解时,我第一次看到这个难以捉摸的物种时,心情是多么的激动。

 

中国瓷蛤有一种难以置信的美,与它的近亲河马蛤并不难区分,贝壳的整体形状要圆润得多,有更少但更宽的褶皱,锯齿状的褶皱也少得多。


在浅水区的黑虎中国瓷蛤

 

它的肉近乎全黑,有点像魔鬼蛤。带有灰白色的条纹和金色的斑点,起到迷惑天敌的作用。有些贝身上有一种邪恶的图案,有点像黑虎蛤,但形状和表现完全不同。

 

当我第一次见到这种最稀有的巨型蛤蜊的时候,我的确充满了期待。幸运的是,我看到的蛤蜊绝对没有让人失望,这要感谢帕劳海洋养殖的工作人员孜孜不懈回答我各类问题,带我参观这个精美绝伦的蛤蛎花园。


 

原文:

Hippopus porcellanus, the China Clam, is arguably the rarest species of giant clam living today. It has a very restricted range second only to the Devil Clam, but it is extremely rare where the species has been found. Unfortunately, the China Clam’s beautiful shell and shallow water habitat has made it an easy target of harvesting for food and for ornamentation.

 

 

We’ve been on the trail of this elusive species ever since we learned of its existence more than 20 years ago. Earlier this week we finally came face to face with this mythical creature and saw for ourselves how this clam species is more than a little different from the much more common and widespread Hippo Clam, H. hippopus. 

 

Alas, we did not find this clam growing wild on some natural reefs – instead we visited a clam farm in Palau to see the few broodstock specimens they hold in their natural ‘clam paddock’. This first encounter with Hippopus porcellanus was following some extensive diving around the islands and reefs of Palau, where many Hippo clams were seen, but no wild H. porcellanusclams were found.

 

Oddly enough, the Hippo Clam is raised by the tens of thousands per year at this one farm alone, and it is an important source of food which is grown by many native Palauans. Meanwhile, the China Clam is much more difficult to raise, and only one cultured specimen had been produced in the last few years. 

 

This mariculture barrier is discouraging to learn about such a rare species of clam, and hopefully this species is abundant somewhere on the outer reefs where the clam naturally occurs, mostly out of reach from human exploitation. Nevertheless, it was an exciting experience to finally see this elusive clam species that I learned about more than twenty years ago as a budding marine aquarist. 

 

The shape and color of the China Clam is incredibly distinct, and there’s virtually no confusing it with its close relative the Hippo Clam. The overall shape of the shell is much more rounded, with fewer but wider and much less jagged folds.

 

The mantle is mostly dark, somewhat reminiscent of the Devil Clam, with a varying degree of fine greyish-white lines and gold spots that are nearly psychedelic in some specimens. Some individuals sported a wicked pattern that is somewhat reminiscent of black tiger maxima clams, but in a wholly different shape and presentation. 

 

I had definitely built up a lot of anticipation for my first encounter with one of the rarest species of giant clams. Thankfully the clams I got to see definitely didn’t disappoint, and big thanks to the staff at the Palau Mariculture Demonstration Facility for answering all my questions, and affording me the self guided tour of their giant clam garden. 

 

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