The valves of the Atlantic razor clam reduce drag and the amount of energy required to reach burrow depth by contracting to locally fluidize the surrounding soil.

“Numerous soft-bodied organisms that live in particulate substrates saturated with a pore fluid use a two-anchor system to burrow: one section of the animal expands to form an anchor while another section contracts and extends to progress forward in the burrow; once extension is exhausted, the roles of each section are reversed (Dorgan et al., 2005; Fager, 1964; Holland and Dean, 1977; Jung, 2010b; Shin et al., 2002; Stanley, 1969; Trueman, 1966a; Trueman, 1966b; Trueman, 1967; Trueman, 1975). In this paper, we show that the Atlantic razor clam (Ensis directus Conrad 1843), which burrows via the two-anchor method, uses motions of its valves to create a pocket of fluidized substrate around its body to reduce drag forces and burrowing energy expenditure.” (Winter 2012:2072)

Last Updated October 2, 2017