Creating Species Page Content

There is a specific set of content I am trying to gather for a variety of species found in marine and beach habitats. The information is organized by the headings given below. Creating content for this project involves filling in the infomation under each heading. These headings may change as the focal group of organisms changes.

Latin Name

Common Name



Life History


Additiona Information:


Here is an example:

Latin Name

Spisula solidissima

Common Name:

Atlantic Surf Clam


Surf clams are more oval or triangular. Their two-part, or bivalve, shell can reach up to 6
inches across.


The Atlantic Surf Clam is the largest clam on the Atlantic coast. Adult clams prefer to live in fine to medium grained sandy sediment. This may be in a nearshore location or in open waters that have suitable sandy bottoms, to a depth of 60 m. Densities do drop off at depths greater than 40 m. Adult surf clams do not move from place to place, preferring instead to stay in their sand burrows. Storms and strong currents can move them but they will rebury themselves quickly unless they become washed up onto a stable and harder to dig into beach.

This species is a plankton eating filter feeder. In turn, they are eaten by a wide range of other organisms including fish, sea stars, crustaceans and other mollusks. Each species that eats the clams have their own way of getting into the shell to access the living parts of the surf clam. The moon snail drills a small hole in the surf clam's shell, usually near the hinge. Gulls that find a larger clam will pick them up then drop them from the air onto hard surfaces such as a dock or sidewalk to break the shell.

Life History:

Spisula solidissima spawn in mid-July through early August and from mid- October to early November. Female and male gametes are released into the water where, upon meeting, the eggs are fertilized. Spawning is temperature dependent and depending on the year, only one spawning might occur. Eggs hatch into planktonic larvae that develop a shell just before they settle into the sand, which occurs after about 3 weeks of hatching. Surf clams can become sexually mature in as little as 3 months but they will not spawn until reaching a size of 40 mm. Surf clams can live 25 years or longer. Clams in deeper, open waters typically live longer that those that live in more turbulent areas close to shore.


From the southern portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. There are major populations of the Atlantic surf clam in Georges Bank, along the south shore of Long Island, along the coast of New Jersey and in the Delmarva Peninsula.

Additiona Information:

Surf clams account for about 70% of all clams commercially harvested in the United States. They are sold chopped and canned, and are eaten in sauces and chowders. Fishermen also use the bellies of the clam as bait for stripped bass and other fish.

For various reasons harvesting Atlantic Surf Clams for human consumption is not allowed in numerous areas (e.g., Georges Bank, the New York Harbor Estuary) where the clam is exposed to being contaminated by bacteria and other organisms that can harm humans.

The procedure for creating this content is fairly straightforward. You can use this method if you wish but you can also create your own workflow, and incorporate other sources of information into your process of creating species page content.

For starters, I will provide you with a number of species names.

Atlantic Surf Clam / Spisula solidissima

The names you are given will be a common name and latin name. For creating your content, I suggest creating a word document that contains the headings given above. Use this as a template file. Open this template, fill in the species name content (common and latin), then use the "save as" command to save the page as a new file named using the common name. This way your template can be resused and now you have the start of your file for the species you are working on.

Do a search on the web using the species name, which will likely lead you to numerous websites that have species page, or species page like, content. It is fine to use these as your resources for content. I find I can usually find anywhere from 4 - 10 useful pages within the first 20 or so results returned by doing a search on the common name and the latin name. I do a search on both names, as sometimes you can find different content under the commmon name than you do using the latin name.

Cut and paste into your word document whatever content you find that fits under the proper headings. It does not matter, and in fact it is advisable if you can find this, to gather more than one blocks of information for each of your headings. In other words you may have four different blocks of text, from different sources, under the distribution heading. Once you have gathered the information from the other web pages, your work is completed by working on the word document.

A few things to note about gathering information from other websites:

1. Using the commons names, and even the latin names, can lead to finding pages that are not a true match. The species you are researching should have a distribution that includes the north east Atlantic region. Be careful when you are doing this research, different species have more or less information written about them. For those with sparser information there is a tendency for the search results to give you pages that do not match your focal species. You hopefully will be able to match the latin names up for pages you find on the web.

2. In some cases you will not be able to find good information about a species. Since this initial research stage, simply searching for other content, is relatively quick - stop here if the information you need is lacking or very sparse. Simply report back that this species does not have good information available. I cannot pay you for this work so do not struggle with this or spend much time trying to dig up information.

3. You may come across more than one common name for a species. Do add those to your document under the common name heading. It is fine to have numerous common names but there is only one latin name.

Once you have all your content in the word document you can begin the editing process. This is the most important part of the work and requires you to use your writing skills. Basically you need to take the text you have copied from the web and synthesize this into a unique document. This will involve rewriting someone else's text and, in cases where you have overlapping information from different sources, synthesing and merging text while rewriting using your own words.

A few important aspects of this rewriting

1. You should not have copied and pasted blocks of text as part of the species content.

2. It is important that the text be grammatically correct and fairly well written. One suggested means of editing your final document that can help you catch mistakes is the following: Once you are done with the document, and are sure all is correct and cleaned up, leave what you have written for a few days. Then go back and check your content one last time. This final edit, with some time between your last working on the content, is a good way to catch minor errors that you might otherwise overlook.