Giant Clam dies at age 40

Giant Clam at the Waikiki Aquarium

Last week, the 40-year-old Giant Clam (Tridacna gigas) at the Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii died of natural causes after releasing a cloud of eggs. It was the oldest and most famous clam in captivity worldwide, which is why its demise was newsworthy. It had been a star attraction at the aquarium.

This clam was spawned in captivity and purchased from a clam farm in Palau 30 years ago. After moving to the Waikiki Aquarium, it grew to a massive 200 lbs. It dined on algae and plankton and was given no supplemental food.

You might say that this clam’s diet and sedentary lifestyle were absolutely boring. But, hey, that diet and lifestyle kept it alive for 40 years. Much longer than a horse might live. The life expectancy of a horse is 25-30 years. On the other hand, horses seem to have more fun than clams do, in my opinion.

My 12-year-old grandson wants to be a marine biologist and ecologist when he grows up. Science fascinates him.

There is so much to learn about the ocean and its inhabitants.

19 Responses to “Giant Clam dies at age 40”

  1. DavidH Says:

    I have been to the aquarium several times over the last thirty years. I have seen this clam and was impressed by its size. I hope that they find another giant clam to replace it.

  2. tomthebackroadstraveller Says:

    …I guess that 40 is old for a clam!😀

  3. Doug M Says:

    Well Gigi. I’m sure you didn’t intend this to be funny–but when you begin comparing giant clams to horses, you’re asking for it! 😄😄😄

  4. Valerie-Jael Says:

    Well, I had no idea that clams can live so long! Fascinating story. Have a great week, Valerie

  5. Cathy Says:

    lol you might delete this but…..hearing the clam died after releasing a cloud of eggs made me think of an old man dying just after having sex with a nimble young woman

  6. Olga Says:

    Now Ihad never given one thought to the life of a clam before now! You always have interesting posts.

  7. Iris Flavia Says:

    Yes, sounds like a long, boring life, but who knows?

  8. Christine Says:


  9. Elephant's Child Says:

    We do indeed have an immense amount to learn about the oceans’ inhabitants.

  10. DJan Says:

    I had no idea that clams could live to such a ripe old age.

  11. arkansaspatti Says:

    Interesting about the release of eggs. Natures last hurrah.

  12. wisewebwoman Says:

    Incredible tracking of a beautiful sea creature. Glad you saw him/her in their prime.

  13. Tom from Sightings Says:

    Well, it was a female clam, and we know females live a lot longer. Still, my condolences to the clam … and her family!

  14. Linda Reeder Says:

    Well, who knew a clam could live that long and get that big. I has to be a tropical clam, not a cold water PNW clam.
    My granddaughter is interested in pursuing marine biology too.

  15. Hank Chapin Says:

    I would encourage your grandson. These early enthusiasms can take root and be for real. When I was in school, my pal, James McLean, told me all about Rachel Carson’s books. He also had a guppy tank which he studied. We used to go for nature walks along the shores of the Hudson River. I’m talking when we were 12-16. When I grew up, I discovered he had become a world-famous sea shell scientist. I discovered this because the other one lived in Hawaii and was a friend of my late wife. You can look James McLean up on line.

  16. Nancy Chan Says:

    The giant clam lived in a well protected environment with good food that helped it lived to a ripe old age. Marine biologist and ecologist is interesting. Great for your grandson.

  17. AC Says:

    Well, that’s a bit of news that I wasn’t expecting. 😇

  18. Beatrice Says:

    I will admit, Gigi, that I did not know that this giant clam has passed away, but it was interesting to learn that it surpassed all the odds. It seems that leading a sedentary life was helpful in this case.

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