By Carmela Martinez
Under the “String-of-Pearls Project”, the Malampaya Foundation, Inc. (MFI) was able to produce more than 9 million eggs of the world’s largest clam in the West Philippine University (WPU) Hatchery in Puerto Princesa City Saturday.
Tridacna gigas, more commonly known in the Philippines as Taklobo, is the largest living immobile bivalve mollusk in the world and also one of the most endangered species with a survival rate of .01 percent.
A Philippine-native species was found in Dos Palmas, Palawan. This type may be bigger compared to others from Pacific Islands, though molecular study is still needed to confirm it.
Giant clams are important because they are food for some marine animals and they increase fish density, Sherry Lyn Sayco, a researcher from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), said.
According to the WPU, this particular type of clam was difficult to propagate because there are only a few of the species left.
The team had to brood stock to collect eggs and sperms unlike other species that can be bred in the laboratory.
The MFI and WPU were in charge of breeding 9.5 million eggs that were fertilized from the Palawan native giant clams while the UPMSI supervised the project.
When matured, the clam will be deployed to MFI’s marine protected areas north of Palawan.
The “String-of-Pearls Project” started last year and it has increased the population of other giant clam species like the Tridacna squamosa, also known as the fluted giant clam in the same family of Tridacna gigas and the Hippopus hippopus or known as the bear paw clam.