What are the tiny colorful clams you find under the sand when digging?

These tiny colorful clams are commonly known as coquina clams.

Did you see them wriggle under the sand? They use a muscled foot to dig a burrow and hide from their enemies: crabs, sea stars, and snails. They can feed themselves with the muscle coming out of the other end, called a siphon. The siphon basically just sucks in the “vitamins” of the sea for the clam to grow on.

Clams grow very fast in the summer and fairly slow in the winter. You can tell the age of a clam by counting the darker rings. The softer rings are the slow growth of winter. Think how your hair grows longer and faster in the summer.

Did you know that colorful coquina clams are the sign of a healthy beach? Check the video posted here!

Do you have another great question? Email info@beachchairscientist.com and share.


  1. is there any use for these tiny clams as they are “infants” – there were a bazillion of these creatures in the ocean today and i think i killed so many of them just trying to get out of the water!

  2. Ann McElhatton says:

    Great question – The main purpose for having so many of these tiny clams is that they will be part of the food chain / ecosystem. They may be eaten by other animals or decompose to become part of the sand.

  3. These are eatable clams , if you want to eat them, take a pound or two and boile them in water for 30 mins, clams will open; you may want to wash them before fixing.

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  5. Johnnie Thomas says:

    Ok well while in Daytona Beach my daughters collected sand and water in bottles. When we got home we realized we had brought home clams shells I thought they were just shells but they turned out to be alive we have been home almost 3 wks now and they are still living. Should I feed them and if so what would I need to feed them?

    • Beach Chair Scientist says:

      Where is home? If you can release them back in a salty environment that would be best. What a great story!

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