The Secret Life of Clams: The Mysteries and Magic of Our Favorite Shellfish

The Secret Life of Clams: The Mysteries and Magic of Our Favorite Shellfish

by Anthony D. Fredericks


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Get up close and personal with an amazing creature that has invaded our lexicon as well as our restaurants.

It breathes with tubes, it has no head or brain, it feeds through a filter, and it is the source of dozens of familiar proverbs (“happy as a clam!”). Clams, it turns out, have been worshipped (by the Moche people of ancient Peru), used as money (by the Algonquin Indians), and consumed by people for thousands of years. Yet The Secret Life of Clams is the first adult trade book to deal exclusively with this gastronomic treat that is more complex than its simple two shells might reveal. The Secret Life of Clams features compelling insights, captivating biology, wry observations, and up-to-the-minute natural history that will keep readers engaged and enthralled.

Written by award-winning science author Anthony D. Fredericks, The Secret Life of Clams includes a comfortable infusion of humor, up-to-date research, fascinating individuals (scientists and laypeople alike), and the awe of a fellow explorer as he guides readers on a journey of wonder and adventure. Along with an appreciation for oceanic creatures, this is a guidebook for armchair marine biologists everywhere who seek amazing discoveries in concert with compelling narration.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629146973
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 11/18/2014
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,194,654
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Anthony D. Fredericks grew up on the beaches of Southern California, where he spent his youth exploring tide pools, gathering clams, and snorkeling along the Pacific coast. He has been a professional educator for more than forty years and has taught at the elementary, secondary, and college levels. Fredericks is a prolific author, having authored nearly four hundred magazine and journal articles and published 141 books, including three college textbooks, eighty education books, and several adult trade books. He is also the award-winning author of more than forty children’s books in a variety of genres, primarily environmental science and natural history. He resides in Dover, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Prologue xv

Part 1 History and Lore

Chapter 1 Leonardo and Ancient Clam History 3

Chapter 2 Secrets in the Middens 19

Chapter 3 Bivalve Legends 43

Chapter 4 Clams as Culture 61

Part 2 Nomenclature and Biology

Chapter 5 By Any Other Name 83

Chapter 6 Anatomy and Physiology 101

Chapter 7 Sex Among the Bivalves 117

Chapter 8 Growing Up, Growing Old 129

Part 3 Business and Pleasure

Chapter 9 It Came From Beneath the Sea 145

Chapter 10 Clams in Your Back Yard 165

Chapter 11 Low Tide, Clam Rakes, and Education 187

Chapter 12 They're Good for You! 209

Chapter 13 Culinary Odysseys and Epicurean Journeys 223

Chapter 14 Recipes to Die For 231

Acknowledgments 251

Appendix 1 Clams That Fly 255

Appendix 1 Reading Group Guide 263

Appendix 1 Discussion Questions 267

Bibliography 271

Photo Credits 279

Index 283

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