The Antarctic soft-shelled clam, Laternula elliptica is widely distributed in shallow waters around the Antarctic Continent and islands. This bivalve species occurs in densepatches particularly in sheltered but frequently ice-impacted areas. This species mostly occurs at atound 20-30 m depth and is rarely found at depths shallower than 5 m where ice abrasion by drifting or grounded icebergs is severe. It burrows deep into sedimint(frequently >50 cm), which seems to be primarily a means for avoiding ice impacts. A pair of stout and highly extendable siphons appear to be a morphological reature to feed in the ice-scoured substrates while staying deep in the sedimint. As one of the largest bivalves in the Antarctic waters, L. elliptica appears to grow rapidly, reaching to a shell length of approximately 100 mm in 12 or 13 years. L. elliptica feeds sctively during summer when food is sufficiently provided, implying that food may be the most inportant fator regulating the growth. Seasonal variations in food availability, and metabolic process in starvation condition possibly during winter, however, are yet to be further investigated.
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