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Relative growth and reproductive cycle of the hermaphroditic Cardites antiquatus (Mollusca: Bivalvia) collected from the Bizerte channel (northern Tunisia)

Béjaoui, Jihen Maatoug, Kefi, Ferdaous Jaafar, Lassoued, Amal, Menif, Najoua Trigui El
Biológia 2017 v.72 no.10 pp. 1171-1180
Cardites, gonadosomatic index, gonads, hermaphroditism, histology, ontogeny, seafoods, spawning, tissues, Tunisia
The relative growth and the reproductive cycle of Cardites antiquatus (L., 1758) from the Bizerte channel (northern Tunisia) were investigated from July 2008 to June 2009. Individuals presented a broad size range, with shell length ranging between 8 and 37 mm. The study of the species relative growth revealed that shell thickness, total wet weight, shell dry weight, soft tissues dry weight and visceral mass dry weight grow proportionally faster than shell length throughout ontogeny. The species reproductive cycle was described and followed through the calculation of the condition index, gonadosomatic index and histological analyses of the gonads. This hermaphroditic species has three spawning periods: gamete emission with low intensity from July to August, an important emission but shorter in time from October to November and an extended spawning period, comprehended from February until June. Being the first study focusing on C. antiquatus in Tunisian waters, it greatly improves the current knowledge on the relative growth and reproductive cycle of this species, thus providing valuable baseline information in a hypothetical scenario of commercial exploitation of this species for seafood.