Cardiomya gemma Verrill & Bush, 1898
Family Cuspidariidae (Dipper Clams)
Living Cardiomya gemma reveals its long, tentaculate, united siphons, as is typical for the family. This specimen is from the Indian River Lagoon in eastern Florida. Cuspidariids are marine carnivores, infaunal in soft sediments, with the tips of the siphons at the surface where the sensory tentacles can detect prey, such as polychaete worms, chaetognaths, small crustaceans, or foraminiferans. The family Cuspidariidae is known since the Jurassic Period and is represented by ca. 20 living genera and ca. 200 species, distributed worldwide in deep and abyssal waters.
Evolution on the Half Shell...
The Assembling the Tree of Life: Bivalvia project (BivAToL) is a part of the Assembling the Tree of Life initiative, a large research effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Its goal is to reconstruct the evolutionary origins of all living things.
Jetsam & Flotsam
Some of the BivATOL team met in early May at the Mote Marine Laboratory’s Tropical Research Station at Summerland Key, FL for a combined collecting trip and coding workshop. Both activities are essential to our project’s goal of determining the phylogenetic relationships among the bivalve families.
After collection, many of the species’ visible and molecular characteristics must be compared and “coded,” after which the phylogenetic computer analyses will be run to produce the final “tree” from which a hypothesis of relationships can be made. Below is an example of a portion of such a phylogenetic tree. Families that are on nearby branches are more closely related to each other than those further away.