Bivalves differ in their habits: some, such as the oysters and marine mussels, have a reduced foot and are permanently attached to a substratum; some, such as the clams and freshwater mussels, burrow slowly through the sand or mud using the foot; some, such as the cockle shells, live on or near the surface of the ocean floor; still others, such as the shipworm, burrow through rocks or wood seeking protected dwellings and do damage to rock pilings and other marine installations. The scallops swim with great speed by suddenly clapping the shell valves together and ejecting water from the mantle cavity. Bivalves that are exposed at low tide, such as the marine mussels, keep their gills wet with water retained in the mantle cavity.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.