Scientia Marina, Vol 80, No 3 (2016)

Gametogenic cycle of the rough cockle Acanthocardia tuberculata (Mollusca: Bivalvia) in the M’diq Bay (SW Mediterranean Sea)

Afaf Rharrass
National Institute of Fisheries research, (INRH) , Morocco

Mostapha Talbaoui
National Institute of Fisheries research, (INRH) , Morocco

Miguel Gaspar
National Institute of biological resources (INRB, I.P.) / IPIMAR , Portugal

Mostapha Kabine
University of Hassan II , Morocco

Nadia Rharbi
University of Hassan II , Morocco


The reproductive cycle of Acanthocardia tuberculata (Linnaeus, 1758) was studied in M’diq Bay. The gonadal development was determined by means of standard histological techniques, mean oocyte diameters and a condition index. Rough cockle is a gonochoric species with synchronous gonadal development and spawning in males and females. The sex ratio obtained was not significantly different to 1:1. Gametogenesis began in late winter (November) coinciding with the temperature drop. In June, with increasing sea water temperature, most of the population was spent and resting oocytes appeared dispersed in the gonad. Resting stage occurred from August to October, during which time sex could not be determined in 100% of the population. A. tuberculata showed a clear seasonality in its gametogenic cycle, with one spawning peak per year in June. Quantitative measurements of 6318 oocyte diameters indicated the patterns of development observed in the qualitative staging. The results obtained revealed the direct influence of temperature on the reproductive cycle. First sexual maturity occurred at 42.77 mm shell length. The information gathered in this study allowed preliminary management measures to be suggested for the fishery of this species, including a closed season during the main spawning season (May-June) and the establishment of a minimum landing size (at least 50 mm shell length) for A. tuberculata from the Moroccan Mediterranean coast.


Cardiidae; reproductive cycle; gametogenesis; image analysis; cockle; first sexual maturity

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