Manila (littleneck) clam (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Picture of manila clams
Manila clams
Category: Molluscs
Common names: Japanese littleneck

Clams can be dug by hand or hand-operated fork, pick, rake, or shovel. Each digger must use a separate container to retain catch. Digging equipment may be shared. Clam holes must be refilled. To reduce clam mortality, please push any undersized clams into the refilled hole. Caution: Always check the local biotoxin status before harvesting via the biotoxin hotline (1-800-562-5632) or

Description and Range

Physical description

Manila clams have an oblong shape and they grow up to 3 inches long. The shell exterior exhibits concentric rings with radiating lines that form a lattice pattern. The exterior color is variable, often with different streaked or angular patterns. They typically have purple or yellow coloration on the interior of the shell. The anterior (lower) side of the hinge of the Manila clam is indented, whereas the same location on the Native littleneck typically has a pronounced ridge.

Manila clams are buried 2 to 6 inches deep in sand, gravel, or mud substrate in the upper-intertidal zone.

Geographic range

Manila clams can be found from the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia south to Elkhorn Slough, CA.


Licenses and Permits

Anyone digging for clams in Washington must have a valid license that includes shellfish harvest. See the Sportfishing Rules Pamphlet for more information, or visit a license dealer.

Rules and Seasons

Minimum size 1½ inches measured across longest distance of the shell. Daily combined limit of all clam species (excluding HORSE CLAMS and GEODUCKS) no more than 40 clams, not to exceed 10 pounds in the shell.
Recreational clam seasons are beach-specific and may change annually. Check this year’s seasons here: Public clam, mussel, and oyster beaches. Always check the DOH biotoxin status before harvesting.