What's in a name? The Native American name for the hard-shell clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) is Quahog (also spelled quahaug, quohog, and others) and the name is unique to the Cape and Islands as well as Rhode Island. Elsewhere along the East Coast, it is referred to as a "clam" Locally, the term "clam" is used to describe the soft shell or steamer clam (Mya arenaria). Just to confuse matters further, the younger, smallest (barely legal size) quahog is designated Littleneck. Somewhat larger specimens of the same animal are called Cherrystone. Both are typically eaten on the half shell.