World's largest clam species in Palawan hatches over 9M eggs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 28 2019 08:02 PM | Updated as of Jun 28 2019 09:13 PM

A diver waits for the clam to induce sperm cells and egg cells for the collected sperms and eggs to fertilize during the first "Tridacna gigas" spawning activity last June 1 at Dos Palmas, Palawan. Courtesy of MFI

MANILA - The first ever on-site spawning of a native Palawan clam species, which is recorded as the largest in the world, has produced over 9 million eggs, a boost to the species' declining population in the country.

According to Malampaya Foundation (MFI), 9.5 million eggs were fertilized from the native giant clams used for breeding at the Western Philippines University (WPU) Hatchery in Binduyan, Puerto Princesa City.

The MFI, along with WPU, presided over the breeding of the clams while the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) supervised the activity.

The Tridacna gigas is one of the most endangered clam species and was even declared extinct in the Philippines in the 1980s.

But it was found that the Philippine-native species still exists in Palawan, particularly in Dos Palmas.

“Tridacna gigas is hard to propagate because the population is few. We need to really go to the brood stock (source) to collect eggs and sperms, compared to other species of clams which numbers can still afford to be brought into laboratories,” said Dr. Lota Creencia of WPU College of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

MFI said that once the bred clams have aged "sufficiently," they will be deployed to its marine protected areas in northern Palawan. 

The spawning activity was in line with MFI’s “String-of-Pearls of Project” that began last year, successfully multiplying two other species of giant clam, namely Tridacna squamosa and Hippopus hippopus, which will be deployed to effectively-managed marine protected areas in communities in North Palawan.

- John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News