Asian clam

Corbicula fluminea

Overview

Photo credit: ©GBNNSS
Habitat:
  • Freshwater lakes and streams of all sizes with mud, silt, sand and gravel benthic substrate (The benthic zone is the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean, lake, or stream, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers). 

Description:
  • Typically this bivalve grows up to 25 mm in length but larger forms are know which can grow up to 50 to 65 mm. C. fluminea has a yellowish brown to black shell with concentric, evenly spaced ridges on the shell surface. This species is hermaphroditic, and has a high level of reproduction.

Origin and Distribution:
  • Originated in China, Korea, south-eastern Russia, and the Ussuri Basin. Now widespread in Europe and the United States.

Habitat:
  • Inland surface water

Impacts:
  • Asian clam reaches high densities and colonises suitable substrates.
  • It has similar impacts to the zebra mussel, competing with other species for food and space.
  • Water based industries, such as hydroelectric power stations and water abstraction for household use may be faced with higher costs due to the clogging of intake pipes by this species.
  • In the US one estimate from 1980 put the costs of correcting this problem at an estimated 1 billion dollars annually (ISSG).
  • They can also negatively impact on sand/gravel abstraction.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • Corbicula is present in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.
  • It is now known to be present in the River Foyle, the River Shannon, Keeldra Lough (Leitrim), Lough Derg, The River Barrow and the River Nore.
  • More information can be found here on NBN Atlas NI and NBDC

Static Distribution Map as of December 2019 - Courtesy of CEDaR


How did it get here?
  • Corbicula could have been introduced to Ireland in boat bilge water as live bait or as a result of escapes from the aquarium trade. C. fluminea are known as "pygmy" or "gold" clams in the aquarium trade.

Biosecurity:   
Asian clam Species Alert issued in April 2016 Asian clam Biosecurity leaflet issued in May 2016

 

 

Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland