Definition of soft-shell clam in US English:

soft-shell clam

(also softshell clam)


  • A marine bivalve mollusk with a thin shell and a long siphon, valued as food on the east coast of North America.

    Genus Mya, family Myidae, especially M. arenaria

    Also called soft clam, steamer
    • ‘The softshell clam is a cousin of the hardshell clam.’
    • ‘They are then ready for a clambake, to become steamed softshell clams, or for use in certain clam chowders and clam pies.’
    • ‘The principal shellfish resources available for recreational harvest in the Bellamy River are softshell clams and American oysters.’
    • ‘She recently published a paper on saxitoxin resistance in softshell clams in Nature.’
    • ‘Many benthic organisms, such as hard clams, softshell clams and bottom-dwelling fish, are the basis of the Bay's commercial fisheries.’
    • ‘On the east coast of North America the softshell clam ranges from the Labrador region to Cape Hatteras.’
    • ‘Like many bivalves, softshell clams are sensitive to bacterial pollution and outbreaks of ‘red tide.’’
    • ‘Researchers found that softshell clams in areas frequently affected by harmful algal blooms are more resistant to PSTs than clams from other areas.’
    • ‘Seasons for softshell clams and oysters are currently closed.’
    • ‘The Edgartown harbor is known for its productive shellfish beds, from the bay scallop beds in the outer harbor to the quahaugs, softshell clams and more bay scallops in upper Katama Bay.’
    • ‘Transmission of the disease in the field to transplanted naïve M. arenaria was not achieved by cohabitation with affected softshell clams.’
    • ‘Commercial harvesting of softshell clams shall not take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and/or Sundays.’
    • ‘Fried clams are made from deep fried softshell clams, with the ‘bellies on them’.’
    • ‘The widespread tissue lysis often observed in oysters heavily infected with P.marinus has not been observed in softshell clams infected with Perkinsus species.’
    • ‘Likewise, the fragile shell of eastern softshell clams makes them poor candidates for surviving.’
    • ‘Most of these species range from the Bering Sea, Norton Sound, and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to California and Baja, Mexico, except the truncated softshell clam, which ranges from the Beaufort Sea to Washington State.’