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Disco clams use flashing lights to keep predators at bay

New York, January 5: A tive of the Indo–Pacific region, the tiny disco clam (Ctenoides ales) gives a spectacular underwater light show to scare away predators and draw in light–loving prey, a new research has found. The seven centimetre long clams have tiny shiny silica spheres in their lips that can reflect light. The clams, which live off Indonesia, flash almost twice as much when they spot predators, the findings showed. “These clams are very different. They’re reef dwelling, they have bright red tentacles, they have gills that stick out, they live in little crevasses (and) they are the only species of clam that flashes,” the study’s lead researcher Lindsey Dougherty from the University of California in Berkeley in the US, was quoted as saying in a Live Science report. For the study, the researchers placed the disco clams in an aquarium and used a floating Styrofoam lid to mimic a looming predator, “which turned out to be very scary” for the clams. The clams’ flash rate jumped from 1.5 times a second to 2.5 flashes a second when the lid was nearby, the researchers found. (IANS)

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