Grooved Carpet Shell Clam
The Carril grooved carpet shell clam (scientific name, Ruditapes decussatus or Venerupis decussatus) is a species of bivalve mollusk in the family Veneridae. It is one of the most sought-after mollusks on the market. Furthermore, the buyers’ and customers’ interest considerably rises in products marked with the quality seal Carril Clam of the Carril Shellfish Growers for its refined and delectable flavor and incredibly tender meat. Therefore, the most desirable, appetizing, and requested tasting for its consumption is fresh and raw.
It is worth noting that bivalves with the certified seal Carril Clam are synonymous with the guarantee of origin, sustainability, and quality. Therefore, getting a clam of this quality can only be obtained in the Carril culture farms due to the unique privileged ecosystem of the Arousa Estuary. Additionally, these bivalves’ production is fundamentally artisanal in all its process and care phases.
It is large and oval, with two solid and thick valves. Its surface has many well-marked spiral and radial striations. The shell forms fine lines that intersect, creating small characteristic squares that make them unique and unmistakable.
It has a robust shell with interconnected radial lines, and its size ranges from a minimum of 4 centimeters to a maximum of 9 centimeters in length. It is also large and oval, with two solid and thick valves. The shell surface has many well-marked spiral and radial striations, creating delicate lines that intersect and produce small distinctive squares that give them their characteristic and recognizable appearance.
The ligament forms an arching, elliptical body that extends to the center of the posterior margin but is not entirely enclosed. The shell has a distinct elongated heart-shaped hinge area called lunule, although not particularly well-defined, creased with thin radial grooves colored from light to dark shades, while the hinge ligament (escutcheon) area shortens to a ridge. It has three cardinal teeth in each valve, where the left-valve central tooth and the central and posterior teeth of the right one are bifid; it does not have lateral ones.
The Carril Clams’ characteristic color can range from grayish to a mixture of shades, depending on their growing substrate. The interior is glossy white with occasionally orange or purple undertones under the umbo. The palial sinus is deep but does not extend beyond the center of the shell, leaving a wedge-shaped space between it and the mantle’s lower profile.
The shell’s surface has a smooth edge and sculptured tiny radial and concentric ridges than become sharpened on its anterior and posterior sides, forming a square shape.
These mollusks can live buried deep in the sand, helped by movements of their muscular foot, which resembles a tongue. Additionally, they can withstand temperatures ranging from 5 to 35°C and changes in salinity.
The grooved carpet shell clam grows in the Carril culture farms, starting along a sandy area in Concha Beach in Vilagarcía de Arousa, continuing parallel to Compostela Beach, and ending at the Ulla River’s mouth between Cortegada Island and the Carril Borough. It is a privileged natural environment that provides this bivalve with unique characteristics and high quality, greatly appreciated in the fish markets.
For the grooved carpet shell clam’s harvesting, they used specific artisanal shellfishing gear with specialized and traditional tools that act on the seabed by sieving the substrate while simultaneously making the first selection of sizes. In these culture farms, seeding for this clam species can occur throughout the year, although it is most active from March to early January, reaching its peak from spring until mid-summer.
Compared to the pullet carpet shell clam, this clam species has a longer growing cycle that lasts more than two years, which accounts for its much larger size.
For shellfish harvesting, growers used traditional tools; for instance, different types of rakes called raños, rastros, and rastillos. Additionally, it is eminently artisanal and commonly performed on foot, although they might employ boats as a form of assistance in broader culture farms.
According to the current legislation, the minimum size for harvesting is 40 millimeters. The association supervises the harvesting activities to comply with the requirements of the Order of the Autonomous Community of Galicia from July 27, 2012, thus, returning those specimens that do not reach this minimum so that they can continue their growth cycle.
The species with the seal Carril Clam of the Carril Shellfish Growers have superior nutritional value and low-fat contents, making them ideal for a low-calorie diet. Additionally, they contain up to 40% less cholesterol than other clams harvested nearby.
Likewise and according to university technical studies, these clams have up to 42% higher-yield meat due to the water uniqueness of the Carril culture fields, which provide them with distinctive characteristics, flavors, and textures.
It is worth noting that grooved carpet shell clams are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals; specifically, standing out for their high vitamin content and contributions of iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, thus, helping to supplement the nutritional needs of a healthy and balanced diet.