As the weather warms and aquatic activities increase on Great Lakes waterways, Advocate reader Stacey Boyce has shared a timely warning about the potential dangers of razor fish on exposed, bare feet.
A fan-shaped clam which buries itself in soft sand where seagrass grows, the razor fish has cause painful cuts – some requiring stitches – to many feet and toes of unsuspecting swimmers and boaties.
My daughter found a razor fish near the Little Street, Forster baths where we were putting our paddle boards in and swimming, Stacey posted on Facebook.
It was low tide and close to shore, she said.
“Just want everyone to be aware there maybe more, so be careful as they will slice anyone's foot open or in half; very very sharp.
“It buries half of itself in the ground, pointy end down in deep and the top is sticking out for someone to step on.”
Jamie Lawler shared both her photograph and experience of an encounter with a razor fish at Wangi Caravan Park five years ago.
Her daughter Callie required several stitches from the top of her big toe when she stopped on a razor fish.
Joanne O'Brien said the molluscs – also known as razor clams – were ‘everywhere’, and she was always vigilant when on beaches known to harbour them.
Helen Jensen had a different take on the mollusc, describing them as very tasty.
Pacific Blue Design, Forster marine ecologist, Suzanne Fiebig confirmed the shell was indeed a razor fish.
“This is a razor shell, species name is Pinna sp or Pinna bicolor, and it is quite common in Wallis Lake,” Dr Fiebig said.
“There are heaps of them in soft sediments, especially in the seagrasses and around the oyster leases.
There are nine species of Pinna endemic to Australian waters, of which five are found in NSW.
“Pinna bicolor is the most common in this area.
“These are also known as razor clams or razor fish.
“When I go out on a typical sampling day I usually come across at least four amongst the seagrasses or on a lease, often up to a dozen on a given day.
Aquatic ecologist, Dr Keith Bishop said earlier this year he found the shell of a razor fish on a Seal Rocks beach.
“In the nearly 30 years I have been walking along those beaches I have not seen one there.
“However, if you scramble about in estuaries – like Wallis Lake, Lake Macquarie, etc – which are likely to be more productive for bivalves like these, I would expect them to be much more abundant.”