Tuesday, 10 December 2019 | 16:52 WIB

These Clams Eat Wood and Sawdust

These Clams Eat Wood and Sawdust (wikimedia)

CHICAGO, NETRALNEWS.COM - Researchers have discovered a strange new species of clam that consumes wood on the ocean floor. For these clams, discarded wood are food for them.

One of the researchers who played a role in this discovery was Janet Voight, Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Field Museum.

"Imagine living on the seabed as a swimming scallop. Clams  also have to find a piece of wood that sinks or die," Janet Voight said, as quoted from the Daily Mail.

In addition to its unique shape, these clams resemble phallic tubes called 'siphon' protruding from their shells. The researchers note that these types of clams also have deep ecological impacts.

The clams split wood and use their bodies to scrape sawdust and eat them, and are the only species on Earth that are known to eat wood. Due to their unique diet, scientists say that the clams can play a role in regulating the amount of wood in the sea.

"We don't know how much wood is on the ocean floor, but there may be more than we think. After a big storm, we estimate that millions of tons of wood are swept into the sea. What if these clams aren't there to help eat it? Think how long the wood would take to rot,"the researcher explained.

Voight said that because the clams were efficient and were very small, they often were gathered in large quantities. As a result, they may play a role in helping to clear the ocean of wood debris from storms found in the sea. The clams also turned out to be able to change trees in the sea for other animals to obtain energy. "That surprised me," she added.