One by one, our giant clams were ravaged.
And no one knew why.
I was told it was due to the warm water temperature in our tanks, which was probably true-in part.
However, even after the installation of a second-hand chiller, which kept the water temperature low, the giant clams we brought in did not survive long. I think I’ve finally discovered what likely happened to our poor bivalve molluscs…
The unlikeliest of suspects – a cowrie, thought to be a herbivore, was caught red-handed having a munching on our friendly, filter-feeding giant clam in our marine tank in the snails mini-exhibition at Science Centre Singapore’s Western Entrance!
Who would have thought…
Now we have an interesting problem on Wednesday-11 July, when we have to tear down the exhibition and relocate the live specimens in the marine tank to suitable habitats in our Marine Alcove Exhibition. We’ll have to quickly size up if any of the habitats in the Marine Alcove Exhibition would be suitable to house these scavenging, carnivorous animals, lest we blindly introduce them in tanks with prized inhabitants.
Have a look for yourself and tell us what you think… And feel free to share information on their eating habits so we can all learn a thing or two about these beautiful marine creatures!
Cowries consume anything from algae to sponges and cnidarians. Apparently, some of them eat a large proportion of animal prey in their normal diet. According to ‘A Guide to Seashore Life’, a publication in Science Centre Singapore’s series of 46 guidebooks on local flora and fauna, the cowrie occurs in many variegated forms, feeding on algae and encrusting organisms. The mantle covers the shell during movement and secretes pearl-like substances to maintain its glossy appearance. In Singapore, the Tiger Cowrie and Arabian Cowrie can be spotted in local waters, although they are a rare find.