Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 3 (2007)

Comparative study of gonadal development of Ruditapes philippinarum (Adams and Reeve) and Ruditapes decussatus (L.) (Mollusca: Bivalvia): Influence of temperature

Marina Delgado
Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries. Centre de Aqüicultura. Tarragona, Spain

Alejandro Pérez-Camacho
Instituto Español de Oceanografía. A Coruña, Spain


Laboratory experiments were used to study the influence of temperature on the reproductive behaviour of two species of clam, Ruditapes decussatus and Ruditapes philippinarum, during their adaptation to the temperature conditions of Galician coastal waters. In both species the rate of gonadal development was directly related to the increase in temperature. At 14°C the reproductive behaviour was similar, both species needing over 2 months to mature. At 18°C, the rate of gonadal development of R. philippinarum was greater than that of R. decussatus. Nevertheless, the results of this study confirm that both species have adapted perfectly to the temperature conditions of the Galician Rias, though certain differences between the reproductive behaviour of these species were detected. R. philippinarum accumulates oocytes prior to their partial or total emission, while in the case of R. decussatus gametes are liberated continuously. In the early phases of its development, the gonad of R. philippinarum is highly heterogeneous in nature, with up to 3 reproductive states being present at the same time, while in R. decussatus gonadal development is much more uniform. Another major difference concerns the phenomenon of reabsorption, common in R. philippinarum but very rare in R. decussatus. These characteristics may well result in a greater reproductive activity in R. philippinarum than in R. decussatus, and a longer reproduction period in the former. They may also represent a certain advantage for the adaptation of the foreign species (R. philippinarum) over the native species (R. decussatus) to the temperature conditions of the Galician Rias.


gonadal development; temperature; histology; Ruditapes decussatus; Ruditapes philippinarum; hermaphroditism

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