Asiatic Clam

Photo by Jim Mason
used by permission


Common Name: Asiatic Clam

Scientific Name: Corbicula fluminea

up to 1 1/2 inches




Blue = current range
Hollow circles = former range


Status in Kansas:
Invasive Exotic

North American Status: (From NatureServe)
This species was first introduced into North America in the 1920s, from China. It now occurs in most of the lower 48 states and also Hawaii. Recently it has been found in a number of permanent water bodies at the central and western regions of Cuba. It can survive in almost any permanent freshwater environment, including brackish and estuarine waters. In a study of the relationships of 12 environmental variables to density and biomass of Corbicula fluminea, higher density and biomass were found to be correlated to where substrate was >40% fine sand, <45% silt, and <8% organic content.

Comments: This exotic clam is relatively small and can be readily identified by the evenly-spaced concentric ridges. The color of the younger specimens is usually bright yellow that gradually becomes darker yellow to dark brown and almost black with age. Internally, there are interlocking lateral teeth on each side of the umbo. Unlike native mussels, it does not use a fish host. It was introduced to the United States in the 1930s from the Orient. Most authorities attribute its spread upstream and across watershed boundaries to boating and fishing activities. Since about 1980, it has become widespread and common in Kansas. The consequences associated with this exotic introduction are not yet understood. On a lighter side, if one were to elect to eat mussels, this species would be a superior choice as it is an exotic, relatively short-lived species and is often consumed as food worldwide. However, one should keep the water quality source in mind as a majority of Kansas rivers probably contain contaminants that can accumulate within the tissues of most mollusk species.

Fish Hosts: none used or required