Fig. 1. Aggregation of dead Fluted Giant Clam shells (foreground).
Fig. 2. Close-up view of the Fluted Giant Clam shells in the pile.
(Photos by Loh Kok Sheng)
Fluted Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa) shells ‘graveyard’ at Semakau Landfill
Location, date and time: Singapore Straits, northern part of Semakau Landfill; 1 February 2014; 1800–2000 hrs.
Observation: Giant clams have been an important coastal resource to man as food and for materials across the Indo-West Pacific region (Mingoa-Licuanan & Gomez, 2002). In Singapore, exploitation of giant clams was evident based on early accounts from European travellers (Traill, 1847) and of local fishing practices (Chuang, 1961; Purchon & Purchon, 1981). Physical evidence of exploitation was also discovered during archaeological excavations, where aggregations of tridacnine shells were found at sites previously located along the old coastline of mainland Singapore (Neo & Todd, 2012).
This record adds to the exploitation history of giant clams in Singapore (Neo & Todd, 2012), and represents the largest assemblage of mature shells found so far. The species of interest, Tridacna squamosa, is one of the five species that can still be found in Singapore, but is locally critically endangered (Neo & Todd, 2013). This intensity of exploitation is unsurprising as there have been early accounts of larger clams being preferentially harvested (Harrison & Tham, 1973; Chou, 1984). Such exploitation could explain the current population status — sparsely distributed with few mature individuals, coupled with poor recruitment rates (Neo et al., 2013).
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