24 February 2011

Not extinct after all: the curious 'Penis' clam

Verpa penis (previously known as Brechites penis) is listed as “presumed nationally extinct” in our latest Red Data Book.
Watering pot clam (Brechites penis)
So we get excited whenever we see one of these clams alive on our shores, which we do occasionally. We have seen this at Changi and Pulau Sekudu.

S. K. Tan, S. H. Tan and Martyn E. Y. Low have shared more about their status in a recent paper on Nature in Singapore.

With a more modest common name of watering pot or waterspout shell, the authors discuss many interesting aspects of this curious clam. From why the clam is better placed in the Genus Verpa, its status as 'extinct' in Singapore, and an awesome photo of live clams with their siphons sticking out the narrow end of the shell!
The authors also tackle the question of how the clam is naturally orientated when buried. With the broad 'watering pot' portion facing the surface, or away from the surface?

Read all about this fascinating clam on Nature in Singapore: Tan, S. K., S. H. Tan & M. E. Y. Low, 2011. A reassessment of Verpa penis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Clavagelloidea), a species presumed nationally extinct. Nature in Singapore, 4: 5–8. [PDF, 192 KB]


  1. Just found one yesterday at Chek Jawa seagrass lagoon! : )

  2. Hurray!! Thanks for this good news Joe!



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