information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



The shell is roundly triangular in shape strong and heavy, with radiating ridges and varies in colour from greyish white through yellow to buff brown. The shell also has distinctive black and white markings. The interior surface of the shell is smooth with a deep purple band. It can grow up to 6 cm in length. The tip of the siphon is split. The body tissue of live specimens, especially the foot, are orange.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

This species is common around American shores but there here are no natural populations in the British Isles. However, a population has been introduced to Poole Harbour in Dorset.

Global distribution

Found in USA, British Columbia to Puget Sound and around the entire western coast of Vancouver Island.


The Manila clam is found in the mid to upper portion of the intertidal and in protected mud-gravel beaches.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Heavy, strong shell with radiating ridges and roundly triangular in shape.
  • The colour of the shell is variable either greyish white through yellow to buff brown.
  • The shell has distinctive black and white markings.
  • Can grow to 6 cm in length.
  • The siphon is split at the tip.
  • The body tissues of live specimens are orange in colour.

Additional information

Manila clams are indigenous to Japan and are widely used in commercial fisheries. It can tolerate water temperatures ranging from 0 to 23 °C. The Manila clam is superficially similar in shape and size to the paloured clam Ruditapes decussatus, however the flesh of live Manila clams, especially the foot is orange whilst in the paloured clam, the foot is white. The shell of the Manila clam also has distinctive black and white markings. When observed feeding underwater, the siphon of the Manila clam is joined but separate in the paloured clam.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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    This review can be cited as:

    Carter, M.C. 2003. Ruditapes philippinarum Manila clam. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 22-08-2018]. Available from:

    Last Updated: 18/09/2003