Richter, Claudio, Roa-Quiaoit, Hilly, Jantzen, Carin, Al-Zibdah, Mohammad and Kochzius, Marc (2008) Collapse of a New Living Species of Giant Clam in the Red Sea. Current Biology, 18 (17). pp. 1349-1354. DOI

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Giant clams are among the most spectacular but also the most endangered marine invertebrates. Their large size and easy accessibility has caused overfishing and collapse of the natural stocks in many places and local extinction in some of the species 1, 2. The diversity of giant clams is extremely low because of reliction in this Tethyan group 3, 4. The latest additions of living species date back almost two decades 5, 6, 7, fixing the number of extant Tridacna at seven species [3]. Here, we report the discovery of a new species of giant clam: Tridacna costata sp. nov. features characteristic shells with pronounced vertical folds, is genetically distinct, and shows an earlier and abbreviated reproduction than its Red Sea congeners. This species represents less than 1% of the present stocks but up to >80% of the fossil shells. The decline in proportion and shell size (20×) indicates overharvesting [8] dating back to the early human occupation of the Red Sea >125,000 years ago [9]. This earliest depletion reported so far of a shallow-water megafaunal invertebrate has important ramifications for human dispersal out of Africa [10]. Its oversight in one of the best-investigated reef provinces 11, 12, 13 illustrates the dearth of knowledge on marine biodiversity.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology
Refereed: No
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 09609822
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2020 18:11
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:00

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