A Sea Slug-like Bivalve?
Every January, staff at the Malacology Lab at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) in Paris, France, sends their “Happy New Year” communiqué to colleagues and associates. This year’s six-page communiqué included updates on their 2018 activities in New Caledonia, the hyper-biodiverse French territory in the Southwest Pacific that has been a focal point of research led by their principal investigator, malacologist Philippe Bouchet. Galeommatoidean bivalves are particularly well represented in the New Caledonian marine environment. These are small clams that have adapted to strange ways of life and specialized habitats, including species that are parasitic in crustaceans and yo-yo clams that spend their lives in the burrows of mantis shrimps. Others have evolved to look like sea-slugs, crawling under rocks and flaunting colorful tentacles that resemble the cerata of these colorful, shell-less gastropods. Sea slugs are potentially toxic to predators, and looking like one could be advantageous to the galeommatoidean clams. (I am indebted to Philippe Bouchet for sending “Happy New Year” and the photo, which was taken by Laurent Charles during the MNHN Our Planet Reviewed New Caledonia Expedition 2018.)