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  • The New Zealand cockle, also known as tuaki or tuangi, is endemic to Aotearoa New Zealand’s coastal areas. They are filter feeders and are well adapted to their preferred habitat of soft mud and fine sand in subtidal areas. The article Adapting to marine habitats has helpful background information on structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations.

    In this activity, students use online and/or paper resources to identify and label parts of a cockle/tuangi.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • identify and label some of the structures of a cockle/tuangi
    • consider the function of these structures
    • discuss how these functions help the cockle/tuangi survive
    • use literacy skills to learn about and discuss the functions of the structures.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    The article Cockles takes a closer look at their habitats, adaptations and ecosystem roles.

    Discover more about tuaki and explore food and resource-gathering traditions practised by Ngāi Tahu whānau in Te Waipounamu – this is part of the interactive Mahinga kai – natural resources that sustain life.

    Mussels are also bivalve filter-feeding molluscs. Learn more about them in this article.

    Explore marine webs further in this article and interactive.

    Activity idea

    In the activity Where do I live?, students learn about the characteristics of three marine habitats (harbour, surf beach and rocky shore) and match plants and animals with each habitat according to their adaptive features.

    Useful links

    Visit NIWA’s Taonga Species Series to learn more about tuangi (cockles).

    Visit the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website for taxonomy and anatomy information of bivalves.

      Published 12 January 2023 Referencing Hub articles
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