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Geoducks Are Strange


"QUANTUM SHOT" #432
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Geo...What?!

They are definitely not "ducks", nor do they have any relation to "geo"-logy. In fact, they seem alien enough to be "from Mars" and, for all I know, possess a malign intelligence.

They are found mostly around Pacific Coast of the US and Canada, and in Japan they seem to serve as inspiration for "manga" of certain tentacled variety. A good info page is definitely in order to get the facts straight, but nothing can prepare you for the shock of seeing them for the first time:


(image credit: Cal Henderson)

Modern biologists easily classify it as large saltwater clam, a bivalve mollusk with a huge "neck", or a "siphon". How huge, you'll ask? Up to two meters in length.



(original unknown)


Deep Diggers of the Depths

Even their name is wrong, because it's pronounced "GOOEY duck". You'd think an epithet "gooey" would seem more appropriate for this bizarre creature, but it's not gooey in any sense. The name comes from a misspelling of "gweduc" (a native word), which means to "dig deep". Also, the "Elephant Trunk Clam" monicker fits them quite well.


(image credit: Don Rothaus)


You'd need to hook up with your buddy to dig them out, especially if you're going to use the "hold-breath" method:


(image credit: Nannette Stark)

It's not so easy to spot the protruding siphon, either:


(image credit: http://www.wdfw.wa.gov)


Sometimes they are confused with "piddocks", which are smaller mollusks:


(image credit: pfly)

But once spotted, they can't escape you, or dig further down. In fact, the body of an adult geoduck remains in one spot for its entire life. Sea stars would nibble at them, but once they bury themselves almost a meter deep, no predators can get at them - so they end up living REALLY long.


Old and Wise

Treat them with respect. They'll outlive any of you - they get up to 160 years old . It's the second longest-living organism on Earth (after giant tortoises, which can live almost 200 years). As they grow, they accumulate rings on their shell, much like a tree does.


(image credit: Jenny Ting)

The average adult geoduck that you'll likely to meet will be the same age as you - 25 to 50 years old, but it hardly has the same experiences as you are, being buried all its life in one spot.


Crunchy... Meaty... Yum!



"Their large, meaty siphon are prized by some for its savory flavor and crunchy texture." It is a delicacy in Asia, each costing $200 - $300, so if you ever considered opening a private geoduck farm... be also ready to deal with their reputation to increase the "male potential" (a geoduck email spamming, anyone?)




Here is a good-sized geoduck on display in a curiosity shop in Seattle:


(image credit: Joe Mabel)


The average female produces up to 5 billion eggs in her lifetime. Here is a picture of a bunch of geoduck-like mollusks clinging to a log of wood in Ardmore:


(image credit: Paul Watson)


Geoduck is an official mascot for the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington - which also has a (very appropriate) motto: "Let It All Hang Out"


(image credit: Scott Stevens)


If you thought geoducks were weird - Horse Clam, or "Pacific Gaper", has even more tentacles... And then there is a lamprey -


(image via Kafkaesque)

Also Read: The Strangest Plant on Earth

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YOUR COMMENTS::

27 Comments:

Blogger Cory said...

Have a look at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_long-living_organisms

There are many, many organisms that live longer than 200 years.

Perhaps you meant "animal"? Some koi fish have lived to be over 200, and one mollusk was dated between 00 and 410 years old when it died.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

GeoDuck? Looks more like a GeoDick.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The creatures on the log aren't molluscs but goose barnacles, belonging to the crustaceans. An even more strange form of life. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goose_barnacle

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OpenID mozey said...

LOL, i had to do a lolpic, When can i get it installed?

___  
Blogger sean_k said...

They're serious animals: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5_tSPkVpJI

___  
Anonymous avenuegirl said...

First time I went fishing I caught a clam - but it didn't look like those! LOL

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great video of Mike Rowe and Geoducks on Dirty Jobs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpU6cKIde5I

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone else notice they look like giant penises?

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Blogger Schmierwurst said...

Wow, anonymous, now that you mention it...they do! They really do!

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this Geoduck video on Youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5_tSPkVpJI

___  
Blogger BoggyWoggy said...

And, remember, it's pronounced "gooey," not "geo."

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These things are ungodly tasty. My family went to the Pacific NW for vacation when I was a kid, and my parents dug their limit, 18each; you can do the math at $300 in Japan. The clams themselves they dredged in cornmeal and flour and fried in butter, the siphons were ground in a meat grinder and turned into chowdah. It was very sweet, like crab is sweet. Absolutely memorable.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

im very suprised that there arent an abundance of penis jokes on here

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Anonymous George said...

I'm curios how does it tastes.
George - http://worldonblog.com/

___  
Anonymous god(zilla) complex said...

i live in seattle, just up the street from the Olde Curiosity Shoppe where that picture of the geoduck in a jar was taken... as a kid, i remember my dad steaming vast buckets of these things out back. the yard would smell awful. but then, i'm not a fan of clams or any other mollusk. at least food-wise.

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Anonymous Samuel said...

Perhaps the 2nd longest living ANIMAL, not Organism. Bristlecone Pine trees and other things come to mind...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

im very suprised that there arent an abundance of penis jokes on here"

im not, its too easy.

___  
Blogger Torley said...

I prefer to call them "Phalliclams".

___  
Blogger Sean said...

That's insane. I've never seen one of those before.

Phinds!

___  
Anonymous nicki said...

i stumbled upon this and clicked the stumble button again because i was about to pass over the page but quickly clicked the back button because i thought i had seen a giant penis on display

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

нифига себе улитка у америкосов

___  
Anonymous WannaSmile.com said...

Those things are creepy looking. Thanks for all of the info on them, very interesting read:)

___  
Anonymous Leo said...

Geoducks are out of this world when it comes to eating them. They do not taste anything like clams or anything else with a shell. Just like scallops, there really is no wrong way to eat them. Cooked or raw, geoducks are insanely delicious. I am a big sashimi fan and for the longest time, I was eating these without ever learning the English name for them. In sushi bars, they are known as mirugai. So some of you sushi fans might have already tried it without knowing. If any of you ever plan to try this in a sushi bar, make sure you ask the chef when they will get a fresh shipment of them in because it is best raw when absolutely fresh. They have a very nice texture and flavor when raw. Think scallops with a bit of a crunch to it. Yummy!

___  
Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thanks Leo, now I know what to look for.

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT I REALLY WANT TO KNOW IS WHAT ARE THE THINGS "LIKE A GOOEY DUCK" THAT ARE PICTURED CLINGING TO THE LOG..IM FROM AUSTRALIA AND I FOUND SOME OF THESE THINGS IN TASMANIA CLINGING TO A BOTTLE AND SOME WOOD..AS YET THE SO CALLED PROFESSIONALS HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO TELL ME WHAT THEY ARE..PLEASE EMAIL ME IF YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE AT fearless 61 @ yahoo. co .uk

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the movie Attack of the Mutant Dick from outer Space!

Lol!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNfYvMxaGpY

___  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fun read. Unfortunately, geoducks can't be dug right now in Washington because of poisonous algae blooms.

I dig horse clams all the time, and I'm pretty sure they only have one "tentacle." Where did you get your information?

___  

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