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Toheroa

Scientific name: Paphies ventricosa

The Toheroa is larger than the tuatua, and in the past, specimens up to 300-mm were collected. Today they are rarely found over 170-mm in shell length. It has been so heavily hunted that the species is now protected and only minimum fishing allowed on one beach for a few days a year.

Toheroa live in the mid-tide sand of open, west coast surf beaches. They are most numerous north of Muriwai, but some colonies may be found further south. They are sometimes found on east coast beaches but are not as plentiful or large as those living on the west coast.

Toheroa has a smooth, wedge shaped, thin shell. It has much longer siphons than the tuatua and so lives deeper in the sand. It's wide, powerful foot allows this species to burrow faster than other clams. It is able to dig through the sand faster than a person can dig by hand.


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