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Distribution of Noah’s giant clam, Tridacna noae


Previously confused with the small giant clam Tridacna maxima, the recently resurrected Noah’s giant clam, Tridacna noae, has been reported from the Taiwanese and the Ryukyu archipelagoes. Our recent underwater observations now extend its distribution to Dongsha (northern South China Sea), Bunaken (Sulawesi Sea), Madang and Kavieng (Bismarck Sea), the Alor archipelago (Sawu Sea), Kosrae (Caroline Islands), New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands and Vanuatu (Coral Sea), Viti-Levu (Fiji), Wallis Island, and Kiritimati (Northern Line Islands). Published mitochondrial DNA sequences retrieved from open-access databases also indicate its presence in eastern Negros (Philippines), in the Molucca Sea, at Ningaloo Reef (Western Australia), and in the Solomon Islands. Noah’s giant clam is thus a widely distributed Indo-West Pacific species. Wherever research has been done on small giant clams throughout T. noae’s range, the inadvertent confusion of T. noae with T. maxima might have led to overestimating actual T. maxima densities and to errors in estimating demographic parameters.

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Access to old taxonomic descriptions and revisions was through the Animal Base database (, the Biodiversity Heritage Library (, and Google Books ( Useful comments and suggestions on a former version of this paper were provided by B.W. Hoeksema and by two anonymous reviewers. Collections of Noah’s giant clams at Dongsha Atoll were done by P.-W. Su; details concerning the collection of giant clams in Kosrae were kindly provided by M. Selch; P. Bosserelle reported on the observation of T. noae at Wallis. PB’s visit to Dongsha in April 2013 was arranged by W.-J. Chen and sponsored by the Oceanography Institute, National Taiwan University. The reef surveys at Bunaken were undertaken by SA as part of the Indeso project sponsored by CLS (Toulouse, France) and BRKP (Jakarta, Indonesia). Reef surveys at Madang were done by SA during cruise Coral Triangle 1 of RV Alis, as part of the Niugini 2012 biodiversity expedition. Giant clam surveys in the northern lagoon of New Caledonia (CF, DG, JT) were part of the BeN-Co project sponsored by ADeCal; those in the western lagoon (CF, JT) were done during cruise Cobelo of RV Alis; those in the Loyalty Islands and in southeastern New Caledonia (CF, DG) were done during cruise Bibelot of RV Alis. Observations on the d’Entrecasteaux Reefs (DG, SA) and Isle of Pines (CF, SA) were made during the New Caledonia leg of the Global Reef Expedition of the Khaled Bin Sultan Living Ocean Foundation, on board RV Golden Shadow. SA, PB, CF and JT designed the study; MRAN, SA, PB, CF, DG, JT and CW participated in field surveys and contributed data; PB wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to P. Borsa.

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Borsa, P., Fauvelot, C., Tiavouane, J. et al. Distribution of Noah’s giant clam, Tridacna noae . Mar Biodiv 45, 339–344 (2015).

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  • Indo-West Pacific
  • Reef survey
  • DNA barcode
  • Cytochrome oxidase 1
  • 16S ribosomal RNA
  • T. maxima
  • T. crocea