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Morphological identification of primary settlers and post-larvae of three mussel species from the coast of South Africa
Bownes, S.; Barker, N.P.; McQuaid, C.D. (2008). Morphological identification of primary settlers and post-larvae of three mussel species from the coast of South Africa. Afr. J. Mar. Sci. 30(2): 233-240
In: African Journal of Marine Science. NISC/Taylor & Francis: Grahamstown. ISSN 0257-7615, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Larvae; Morphology (animal); Mussel fisheries; Structures; Choromytilus meridionalis (Krauss, 1848) [WoRMS]; Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 [WoRMS]; Perna perna (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; South Africa [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bownes, S.
  • Barker, N.P.
  • McQuaid, C.D.

Abstract
    The study of mussel settlement and recruitment requires the ability to identify the larvae of co-existing species. On the south coast of South Africa, an introduced (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and two indigenous (Choromytilus meridionalis and Perna perna) mussel species co-exist and compete for space. One of the indigenous species (P. perna) is invasive elsewhere. We provide discriminating features of their settlers based on post-larval shell morphology and hinge structure. Early post-larvae of P. perna can be identified by shell markings and shape. Small post-larvae of M. galloprovincialis and C. meridionalis are difficult to separate, but this can be done based on the proportions of the shell; larger post-larvae of M. galloprovincialis have diagnostic hair-like structures on the dissoconch. Detailed descriptions are provided that allow unambiguous identification of each species at sizes from 330 µm to 5 mm.

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