Hard Clam Mercenaria mercenaria notata
Hard clams, or quahogs, can be found in muddy intertidal sands to depths of 120ft. The northern quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria) grows 5-6" in length and ranges from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Florida. The interior of the shell is often marked by a dark purple border along the edge and the center of the outside of shells maybe smooth. Some smaller specimens exhibit zigzagging lines on the exterior and are classified as a subspecies (M. mercenaria notata). The southern quahog (M. campechiensis) is similar to the northern quahog in appearance but is generally more robust, has a rough exterior, and is mostly white on the interior of the shells. Southern quahogs range from New Jersey to Florida, and around the Gulf of Mexico. The overlap in the range of these clams results in hybrids which may exhibit characteristics of both species.
Hard clams are harvested commercially and represent an important aquaculture industry in Florida.
Image Credit: FWC