Asian clam

Scientific Name: Corbicula fluminea

Noel M. Burkhead - U.S. Geological SurveyCopyright Info

Identification: The Asian clam can be distinguished from most native clams by the rows of grooves on its shell. In the Great Lakes, its shell can be yellow, greenish-yellow, or light brown on the outer surface and white, light blue, or light purple on the inside surface. This clam is also known as Asiatic clam, golden clam, and good luck clam.

Size: The Asian clam is less than 2 inches (50 mm) in diameter.

Native Range: This species ranges from southern and southeast Asia, west to the eastern Mediterranean and parts of Africa, and south to eastern Australia.

Table 1. Great Lakes region nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state/province, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Corbicula fluminea are found here.

Full list of USGS occurrences

State/ProvinceYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Illinois199820172Little Calumet-Galien; Pike-Root
Indiana199520173Lake Michigan; Little Calumet-Galien; St. Joseph
Michigan1980201821Black-Macatawa; Clinton; Detroit; Flint; Huron; Kalamazoo; Lake Erie; Lake Michigan; Lake Superior; Lower Grand; Manistee; Maple; Muskegon; Ottawa-Stony; Raisin; Shiawassee; St. Clair; St. Joseph; Tiffin; Tittabawassee; Upper Grand
Minnesota199920111St. Louis
New York199820186Irondequoit-Ninemile; Lake Champlain; Lake Erie; Niagara; Oak Orchard-Twelvemile; Seneca
Ohio198120096Cedar-Portage; Cuyahoga; Lake Erie; Lower Maumee; Sandusky; St. Joseph
Vermont201620161Mettawee River
Wisconsin199920175Lake Michigan; Lower Fox; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Wolf

Table last updated 10/12/2019

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Initially, the Asian clam may have been unintentionally introduced to North America with the importation of the giant Pacific oyster, which is from Asia. The species also may have been introduced by Chinese immigrants who used it as food. The Asian clam can be dispersed by water currents, but it is believed that this species’ spread is primarily the result of people’s actions. This species is spread when it is purchased as a food item in markets and is then released into a natural waterway. It can also be spread when it is transported accidentally in bait buckets and in shipments of other imported aquatic species.

Status: In 1938, this species was first collected in the United States along the banks of the Columbia River in Washington state. It is now found in 38 states and the District of Columbia. It is established in Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior.

Remarks: Many factors may affect population density and distribution of the Asian clam, including temperature, pollution, competition, predators, genetic changes, and salt and oxygen concentrations, as well as bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.

Author: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Contributing Agencies:
NOAA Sea Grant GLRI Logo

Revision Date: 8/28/2012

Citation for this information:
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, 2019, Asian clam: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI,, Revision Date: 8/28/2012, Access Date: 10/13/2019

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.