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Last updated date: 25th May 2024
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Geoduck Meaning

Geoduck is a large mud-burrowing bivalve mollusc found on the west coast of North America, where it is gathered for food. Its shell valves are not very large to enclose its body and very long siphon.

The common name for geoduck, i.e., Geoduck clam is derived from the Lushootseed word gʷídəq. The geoduck species originally ranges from the coastal waters of western Canada and the northwest US.

A Pacific geoduck is a species of huge saltwater invertebrate or a clam that belongs to the family of Hiatellidae. Here, the clam is a common name alluded to several kinds of bivalve molluscs. 

The Classification of a Geoduck is as Follows:


Geoduck Classification

Scientific name

Panopea generosa

Discovered by Gould in 1850
















P. generosa

Besides classification, geoduck species have their own etymology, size, biology, industrial use, and environmental impacts, which we will learn on this page along with interesting geoduck animal facts.

Geoduck Etymology

From the above text, we understand that the name geoduck is derived from a Lushootseed (Nisqually) word gʷídəq. This word is either formed of the first component of unknown meaning and əq meaning "genitals" (corresponding to the shape of the clam), or a phrase of the "dig deep", or sometimes both, as a double entendre. 

Often, it is sometimes known as a mud duck, king clam, or, when translated literally from Chinese, an elephant-trunk clam. A bunch of geoducks is called a "bag."

Between the years 1983 and 2010, the scientific name of this clam was perplexed with that of an extinct clam, i.e., Panopea abrupta (Conrad, 1849), in scientific literature.

Now, let’s understand what is geoduck.

The geoduck is also pronounced as “gooey duck.” Unlike the giant clam that covers itself entirely into the shell, the geoduck has a small shell compared to the soft part of its body because of which it cannot retract into the shell. 

Rarely, the shell grows larger than about 8 inches (20 cm), but the soft part of the body can grow over 3.3 feet (~ 1 m) long. 

Additionally. geoducks have a long neck that helps them burrow deep into soft, muddy, or sandy sediments, and this long “neck” is actually the siphon that the clam uses to extract clean seawater down to the deeply buried shell. Geoducks have the largest of all burrowing clams among the other species.

Now, let us understand what is geoduck.

What is Geoduck?

Geoduck species are filter feeders. The water that they guide down to the covered primary body is sifted for little particles of food, phytoplankton, pelagic scavengers, and fish larvae. This water is additionally the wellspring of the animal’s oxygen and is effectively siphoned over the gills. 

This species replicates through conduct known as broadcast spawning, where a few females discharge eggs and a few males discharge sperm into the water section, all simultaneously. This strategy improves the probability that eggs will turn out to be effectively fertilized and that treated eggs won't be eaten by the egg predators close to the ocean floor. Geoducks are amazingly useful, with the extensive females creating upwards of five billion eggs all through their lifetimes. Not many of these eggs will endure the right to sexual development. Geoducks have an extremely long life expectancy, with individuals known to arrive at ages more than 165 years of age. 

Geoduck Importance

Geoducks are an exceptionally significant seafood species, with individuals demanding as much as US$150 per pound ($US330/kg). Therefore, this species is fished commercially and farmed expertly all through its reach. Both of these industries are obviously sustainably managed, and this claim is as yet normal. Conservation scientists have not evaluated the geoduck, however, it's anything but a type of least concern.

Geoduck Appearance

Geoducks are well-known for having a small shell and very long neck, as we can see in the image below:

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Here, we see that the long “neck” has two openings at the end - one opening allows the passage of oxygen and phytoplankton into the body and the other one is for releasing excess water.

Geoduck Biology

Native the west shore of Canada and the northwest shoreline of the United States (basically Washington and British Columbia), these marine bivalve molluscs are the biggest burrowing shellfishes in the world, weighing at an average of 0.68 kg (1.5 pounds) at development, yet specimens weighing over 6.8 kg (15 pounds) and as much as 2 m (6.6 feet) long are not unheard of.

A related animal species, Panopea Zelandica, is found in New Zealand and has been reaped industrially since 1989. The biggest amounts have come from Golden Bay in the South Island where 100 tons were reaped in one year. There is a developing worry over the expansion of parasites in the Puget Sound populace of geoduck. Regardless of whether these microsporidium-like parasitic species were presented by business, cultivating is being concentrated via Sea Grant. Examination to date demonstrates their presence.

The most seasoned recorded example was 168 years of age, yet people typically satisfy 140 years. A geoduck sucks water containing plankton (tiny fish) down through its long siphon, channels this for food and launches its reject out through a different opening in the siphon. Adult geoducks have only a few normal predators, which may likewise add to their life span. In Alaska, sea otters and dogfish have demonstrated fit for dislodging geoducks; starfish additionally attack and feed on the uncovered geoduck siphon. 

Geoducks are broadcast spawners. A female geoduck produces around 5 billion eggs in her very long term life expectancy. Notwithstanding, because of a low pace of enrollment and a high pace of mortality for geoduck eggs, larvae, and post-settled adolescents, populations are delayed to rebound. In Puget Sound, studies show that the recuperation time for a harvested tract is 39 years.

Biomass densities in Southeast Alaska are assessed by drivers, then, at that point expanded by 25 percent to represent geoducks not apparent at the hour of the study. This gauge is utilized to anticipate the two percent that took into consideration commercial reaping.

Geoduck Industrial Advantages

The world's first geoduck fishery was made in 1970, yet interest for the half-neglected mollusk was low from the start because of its texture.[citation needed] As of 2011, these shellfishes sell in China for more than US$33/kg or $15 per pound.

The geoduck's high market esteem has made a $80-million industry, with collecting happening in the territories of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon and the Canadian area of British Columbia. It is quite possibly the most firmly controlled fishery in the two nations. In Washington, Department of Natural Resources staff are on the water ceaselessly checking harvests to guarantee incomes are gotten, and the equivalent is valid in Canada where the Underwater Harvesters' Association deals with the Canadian Fishery related to Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Washington State Department of Health tests water and tissue to guarantee mollusks are not separating and holding poisons, a continuous issue. With the ascent in cost has come the unavoidable issue with poaching, and with it the chance some could be reaped from risky areas.

Starting in 2007 signs of progress in the testing framework for polluted shellfishes have permitted geoduck collectors to convey live mollusks all the more reliably. The new testing framework decides the suitability of shellfishes from tried beds before the reapers fish the region. Past strategies tried mollusks after reap. This headway has implied that 90% of mollusks were conveyed live to advertise in 2007. In 2001, just 10 percent were live.[16] Because geoduck has a lot higher market esteem lives an extra $4.4 to $6.6/kg or $2 to $3 per pound; this advancement has assisted with invigorating the blossoming business. 

The COVID-19 pandemic disturbed the geoduck business. Given the close closure of cafés and fish advertises the nation over, interest for live geoducks dove. Jumpers in Southeast Alaska who commonly see costs of $5 to $10/lb at live geoducks revealed costs as low as $1/lb, driving numerous to quit fishing for a brief time.

Geoduck Habitat

The greatest shellfish in the Pacific Northwest is the geoduck. The world's biggest tunneling mollusk, they are very plentiful in the inland waters of Puget Sound, British Columbia, and Alaska, where the subtidal populaces support significant commercial fisheries. 

Geoduck is an exceptionally famous focus for the sporting fishery yet there is restricted upland admittance to seashores that help intertidal populaces of geoduck. Tides to collect intertidal geoducks should be at any rate - 2.0 feet or lower. Sporting reapers may expect huge groups looking for geoducks when these low tides happen at mainstream state park locations.

Geoduck Description and Range

It is a large clam native to the west coast of North America (Washington) from Alaska in Baja California.  However, these species are rarely found along the Pacific coast, and populations are likewise scarce in the west of Clallam Bay in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

These invertebrates are found buried two to three feet deep in sediments, sand, or gravel. The gaping, oblong shell has a white appearance with concentric rings and generally has thin patches of flaky earthy-coloured covering (periostracum) at the edges. The siphon and mantle are so long that they cannot be covered into the shell.

Geoduck Locations

Natural "beds" of geoducks are found on numerous public beaches in Washington, but they will rarely be exposed to other than at tides lower than - 2.0 feet. Only Puget Sound and Hood Canal comprise expanded populations of geoducks; however, they are rarely encountered on the Pacific coast beaches and west of Clallam Bay in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

Pacific Geoduck

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The Pacific geoduck mollusk Panopea generosa is one of the biggest tunneling shellfishes on the planet. The shell has been estimated to be up to 212 mm with a wet load of 3.25 kg. Geoducks can cover themselves so their siphons stretch 1 meter to the substrate surface. The outside and within its shell are white and the shell is adjusted anteriorly, shortened at the siphon end, expanding at all sides because of an enormous body and neck. Little adolescents have a huge, all-around created foot, which turns out to be relatively more modest as the mollusk develops. 

A troubling issue is a tendency for geoduck molluscs to bioaccumulate bothersome microorganisms or mixtures. Specifically, undeniable degrees of paralytic shellfish poisoning (immobile shellfish harming) (PSP) have been found in geoducks in Southeast Alaska, most emphatically connected with the viscera. The mantle and necks are the typical body parts burned-through and PSP fixations are lower in these parts. Despite the fact that the present circumstance allows the offer of handled shellfishes with viscera eliminated, ex-vessel an incentive for prepared mollusks is essentially not exactly that for an entire, live product.

Geoduck Animal Facts

The below image shows the young geoduck growing in a tray at Taylor Shellfish Farms hatchery in Quilcene, Washington, i.e., a two-hour drive west of Seattle. When the geoduck larvae are ready to be implanted in the sand, the shells produce to a half-inch long and the siphon extends another half-inch or so (retracted, or several inches when exposed to the surface).

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  • Geoduck larvae when seen through a microscope appear in the following way:

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They are the largest burrowing clam that is especially popular in Washington state, British Columbia, and East Asia.

  • Geoducks develop in a tray with sand in the hatchery (an installation or building in which the hatching of fish or poultry eggs is artificially supervised for commercial purposes) before being transplanted outside. 

It takes around six years after planting to grow to 1.5-2 lbs, the geoduck market’s sweet spot.

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  • Below you can see tanks holding algae for feeding the geoducks. The different colors depict various species of algae possessing varying densities of cultures, a half-dozen or so species to fulfill the dietary requirements of each larval stage of the animals reared in an installation.

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  • Geoducks weigh up to 7 pounds.

  • The length of a shell is typically around: 6-7 inches and the siphon can be up to 3 feet at max.

  • The main regions of Geoduck habitat are Alaska, West Coast

FAQs on Geoduck

Q1: List the Popular Geoduck Beaches.

Ans: Geoducks have been noticed with underwater video cameras living in a depth of 360 feet in Puget Sound, and the extended majority of the population is subtidal. They are not close to an abundant intertidally, and sport diggers usually find them on beaches only at extreme low tides (i.e., lower than - 2.0 feet). For this reason, most sport diggings are limited to less than 20 tides a year.

So, the most popular beaches having a good population of geoduck species is:

  • In India

  • Indian Island County Park

  • Parks in other countries including geoduck population are:

  • Fort Flagler State Park

  • Dosewallips State Park

  • Dabob Broad Spit (boat access only)

  • East Dabob (boat access only)

  • Penrose Point State Park

  • Eagle Creek

  • Toandos Peninsula State Park (boat access only)

  • Hope Island State Park (boat access only)

  • Seabold Beach (boat access only)

  • Blake Island State Park (boat access only)

Besides these locations, Dosewallips State Park is the best place to observe experienced geoduck diggers capturing these big clams.

Q2: State the Culinary Geoduck Uses.

Ans: The enormous, substantial siphon is valued for its exquisite flavor and crunchy surface. Geoduck is viewed by some as a sexual enhancer as a result of its phallic shape. It is exceptionally mainstream in China, where it's anything but a delicacy, generally eaten cooked in a fondue-style Chinese hot pot. 

In Korean cooking, geoducks are eaten raw with hot chilli sauce, sautéed, or in soups and stews. 

In Japan, geoduck is set up as crude sashimi, dunked in soy sauce and wasabi. On Japanese menus in less expensive sushi cafés, geoduck is now and again filled in for Tresus keenae, a type of horse clam, and named mirugai or mirukuigai. It is considered to have a surface like an ark shell (referred to in Japanese as akagai). Mirugai is sometimes converted into English as "goliath mollusk", and it is recognized from home jako sushi, which is produced using Tridacna gigas.

Q3: Write about Geoduck Species.


Environment-friendly - Geoducks play the role of environmental-friendly. They remove excess nutrients and improve water quality.

Feeding Pattern - Adult geoducks don’t need feeding – they filter phytoplankton directly from the water column.

Farming Methods - The young species are planted in PVC pipes on intertidal beaches until they are developed enough to burrow into the mud.

Human Health - These shellfish release toxins and bacteria in the environment and eating them can cause foodborne illnesses. State and federal regulations need consistent monitoring of farmed geoducks to assure that they are safe for human consumption.