Archerd Shell Collection > Shell Classes > Bivalvia > Cardiidae

Family: Poromyidae


Carnivorous Mini-Clams!

Species in the Order, Anomalodesmata, account for over 70% of all those benthic and abyssal clams that feed carnivorously or by scavenging tissue fragments --a mode of feeding that is unusual and not at all characteristic of the vast majority of bivalves.

Among the Anomalodesmata, the small deep water clam, Poromya granulata, (Superfamily: Poromyoidea) shown at right, is fairly typical in feeding behavior to other Superfamilies in this Order; e.g., the Verticordioidea and Cuspidarioidea. Many of the genera in these superfamilies have a similarly large, eversible inhalant siphon. The siphon can be quickly retracted with the prey, by strong retractor muscles that invert the cowl to bring food to the mouth. It is believed that the tentacles, which bear ciliary sense organs, are used to detect motion and thereby serve to locate prey. Moreover, the intestine is remarkably modified for digestion of large food fragments.

The classification system below follows that of Bouchet et al. (2010), in which the Anomalodesmata are now considered to be monophyletic, based on molecular analysis, anatomical analysis, shell morphology and shell microstructure; also, followed by the Worldwide Mollusc Species Data Base (WMSDB).

Class: Bivalvia
Subclass: Heterodonta
Infraclass: Euheterodonta
Order: Anomalodesmata
Superfamily: Poromyoidea
Family: Poromyidae
Major Genera
  • Genus: Poromya

Poromya granulata Poromya granulata (Nyst & Westendorp, 1839)
Granular Poromya

Drawing reproduced by permission of author; Brian Morton, "Prey capture in the carnivorous septibranch Poromya granulata (Bivalvia: Anomalodesmata: Poromyacea)". In, Sarsia 66:241-256, 1981.

(above) Poromya granulata observed in a natural position in the sand, with its inhalant siphon fully extended. Note the projecting cowl, which is extended for capture of a 2.5 mm long crustacean, typical of food found in its stomach. The 15 tentacles and the siphon are a bright red color.
The Poromyidae also possess red amoebocytes in their blood stream that carry a high molecular weight hemoglobin pigment. This and the shared modifications described at left point to a degree of evolutionary development that few other bivalves have achieved in adapting to new habitats.

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