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Birth of a Coral Island

Nature of Coral

Flowers of the Reef

The Echinoderms

Amazing Defensive Weapon

Turtles of the Reef

Strange Behavior of Reef Crabs

A Deadly Killer

World's Largest Shellfish

Strange Oysters of the Reef

Rare fish of the Coral Seas

Unusual Vegetation

Birds in Millions

Angling Unsurpassed



World's largest shellfish

Giant Clam . To one who has been accustomed to gathering shells in handfuls on Australian beaches, the first introduction to a giant clam causes a momentary shock, for it is of such a size that it would take the combined efforts of three or four men to lift it. The giant clam is the world's largest shellfish, and it may be found up to a length of three or four feet and a weight of about 500 pounds. It occurs only along the northern half of the Reef, its place on the southern half being taken by a smaller species which grows to about a foot in length. The latter is extraordinarily prolific, and its sinuous mantle edges, vividly colored in mottled greens, blues and purples, render it one of the most conspicuous objects of the Reef. Other clams burrow in living coral by means of a rocking movement, and their mantle edges show prominently at the surface.

The bailer shell may be as big as a football. It was used by the aborigines to, bail their canoes, and also as a bucket, saucepan, drinking-vessel, basket, and even , as a wardrobe. The cowries, too, are very common, the texture of the shells of many resembling the finest of porcelain. Cone shells, one or two species of which are armed with a poisonous weapon capable of inflicting a severe wound, occur in abundance.





Wonder Book of Knowledge