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Seasonal changes in flesh weight and biochemical composition of mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Conwy Estuary, North Wales
Dare, P.J.; Edwards, D.B. (1975). Seasonal changes in flesh weight and biochemical composition of mussels (Mytilus edulis L.) in the Conwy Estuary, North Wales. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 18(2): 89-97. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/0022-0981(75)90066-0
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Chemical composition; Food composition; Seasonal variations; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Dare, P.J.
  • Edwards, D.B.

Abstract
    Sublittoral M. edulis from natural mussel beds of the Conway Estuary fishery exhibited an annual cycle of dry flesh wt, biochemical composition, and cycle of dry flesh wt, biochemical composition, and caloric value during 1971-1974. Mean percentage values of the main components of dry flesh, with seasonal extremes in parentheses, were: protein 58.7 (46.4-73.1), carbohydrates 22.5 (4.1-36.7), lipids 7.0 (3.9-9.6), and ash 11.8 (8.8-17.2).The mean caloric values of dry flesh were 5.57 kcal/g ash-free and 4-92 kcal /g ash-inclusive. Individual dry flesh wt was highest in summer and autumn, when protein and carbohydrate were maximal, and decreased through the winter to a post-spawning minimum in spring. Wt loss in winter resulted from rapid utilization of carbohydrate (glycogen) reserves and a depletion of both protein and lipid content. It is considered likely that mussels wer then stressed by food shortage at the time when metabolic demands, cue to gametogenesis, were highest. During the 6 main fishing months, Oct to March, the average wt of dry flesh fell by 30-50% and caloric content by 35-45%. The likelihood of similar losses in cultivated mussel stocks is indicated and the need for comparable information in fishery management is emphasized. The extent to which predators compensate for these seasonal changes in prey quality also requires examination.

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