Clams are filter feeders that pump water through their bodies to catch microscopic organisms, such as plankton and algae. This is done using the siphon, a long appendage connected to the main body of the clam. The siphon is also responsible for breathing and eliminating waste.
A clam's siphon is composed of an outgoing tube and an ingoing tube. The ingoing tube sucks in surrounding water to extract oxygen and nutrients, while the outgoing tube expels dirty water. Microscopic hairs, or cilia, lay inside the siphon and around the gill tract. The cilia are waved continuously to generate a current for the clam.