Vibrator-shaped “phallic” clams that penetrate deep into the wood of the sea found


A strange new species of clam shaped like a willy has been discovered by scientists.

The phallic creature roams the ocean floor and nibbles on soggy wood for its dinner.

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Close-up of the newly discovered wood-boring clamCredit: Field Museum

Pieces of fallen trees sometimes find their way from rivers to oceans, and the clam burrows deep into the woods, living the rest of its life in the hole it made.

Experts have said that deep-sea creatures are surprisingly abundant given their niche eating habits.

“Imagine living on the ocean floor like a tiny swimming clam; you either have to find a sunken piece of wood or die, ”said Dr. Janet Voight, curator at the Field Museum in Chicago.

“You wouldn’t think there would be so many kinds of clams doing this.”

    Drawing showing several members of the wood-boring clam family.  They have been described as "phallic" by some jokers

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Drawing showing several members of the wood-boring clam family. They have been described as “phallic” by some prankstersCredit: Field Museum

All clams are aquatic animals with two shells covering a soft, spongy body.

Wood-boring clams have a long, stretchy organ that protrudes from their wooden house into the ocean.

The phallic tool allows them to scavenge oxygen and other nutrients – although that means they’re not exactly PG.

Previously, it was believed that there were only a few species of clams in the wild, but experts at the Field Museum have found more.

They scoured the museum’s collection of wood-boring clams for undiscovered animals, identifying three new genera groups and one new species.

“There isn’t just one tree cleaner in the ocean, they’re really diverse,” Dr. Voight said.

“We have now discovered that there are six different groups, called genera, and about sixty different species.”

    A wood-boring clam inside a piece of wood

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A wood-boring clam inside a piece of woodCredit: Field Museum

Wood-boring clams feed by flexing their muscles and swinging their shells against their wooden houses.

This scratches the small pieces that the clam eats and digests with the help of special bacteria in their gills.

Along with termites and boat worms, they are among the only animals on Earth that can eat wood.

The research was published in the Journal of Molluscan Studies.

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