Disco clams use flashing lights to keep predators at bay
Features Friday, January 09, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | January 5, 2015 | 06:19 pm IST New York: A native of the Indo-Pacific region, the tiny disco clam (Ctenoides ales) gives a spectacular underwater light show to scare away predators and draw in light-loving prey, a new research has found. The seven centimetre long clams have tiny shiny silica spheres in their lips that can reflect light. The clams, which live off Indonesia, flash almost twice as much when they spot predators, the findings showed. "These clams are very different. They're reef dwelling, they have bright red tentacles, they have gills that stick out, they live in little crevasses (and) they are the only species of clam that flashes," the study's lead researcher Lindsey Dougherty from the University of California in Berkeley in the US, was quoted as saying in a Live Science report. For the study, the researchers placed the disco clams in an aquarium and used a floating Styrofoam lid to mimic a looming predator, "which turned out to be very scary" for the clams. The clams' flash rate jumped from 1.5 times a second to 2.5 flashes a second when the lid was nearby, the researchers found. They also found that the clam has sulphur in its fleshy lips and tentacles and suspect the sulphur gets converted into a distasteful substance to keep predators at bay. The findings were presented at the 2015 annual conference of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in the US. With IANS
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