The reproductive biology of the exploited razor clam, Ensis siliqua, in the Irish Sea

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Cross, Maud E.
O'Riordan, Ruth M.
Culloty, Sarah C.
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Knowledge of the reproductive cycle of a species is a prerequisite for sustainable management of a fishery. The infaunal marine bivalve, Ensis siliqua, is a commercially important species in Europe, and is exploited in many countries, including Ireland, where it is sold by wet weight. Seasonal variations in the reproductive cycle of subtidal razor clams from the Skerries region of the Irish Sea, an important fisheries area, were examined between June 2010 and September 2011 while monitoring weight. Histological examination revealed that the E. siliqua sex-ratio was not different from parity, and no hermaphrodites were observed in the samples collected. In the summer months of 2010 all female clams were either spent or in early development, with just a small percentage of males still spawning. The gonads of both sexes developed over the autumn and winter months of 2010, with the first spawning individuals recorded in January 2011. Spawning peaked in March 2011, but unlike in 2010, spawning continued through June and July with all animals spent in August 2011. The earlier and longer spawning period found in this species in 2011 compared to 2010 may have been due to the colder than normal temperature observed during the winter of 2010 plus the relatively warmer temperatures of Spring 2011, which could have affected the gametogenic development of E. siliqua in the Irish Sea. It was noted that wet weight dropped in the summer months of both years, immediately after the spawning period which may impact on the practicality of fishing for this species during this period. Timing of development and spawning is compared with other sites in the Irish Sea and elsewhere in Europe, including the Iberian Peninsula.
Ensis siliqua , Bivalve , Ireland , Gametogenesis , Spawning
CROSS, M. E., O’RIORDAN, R. M. & CULLOTY, S. C. 2014. The reproductive biology of the exploited razor clam, Ensis siliqua, in the Irish Sea. Fisheries Research, 150, 11-17.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Fisheries Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Fisheries Research. [Volume 150, February 2014, Pages 11–17]