The Winged Chimney Clam
The Winged Chimney Clam, Gastrochaena difficilis Deshayes, 1855, is a boring clam that spends its life lodged into the structure of empty shells or corals. The elegant shell of this species is very fragile and will not be found outside of its host structure. A young Winged Chimney Clam will settle onto a shell (or coral) and begin the boring process right away. Boring is done chemically, not mechanically. As its close relative, the Stimpson Chimney Clam, does, when its size eventually surpasses the thickness of the host shell, completely piercing it from side to side, the Winged Chimney Clam is capable of building a "dwelling" of mucus and sand and broken shell particles for its protection.
The Winged Chimney Clam, Gastrochaena difficilis, from Sanibel. Photo by José H. Leal.