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The dispersal of young post-larval bivalve molluscs by byssus threads
Sigurdsson, J.B.; Titman, C.W.; Davies, P.A. (1976). The dispersal of young post-larval bivalve molluscs by byssus threads. Nature (Lond.) 262(5567): 386-87
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Dispersion; Larvae; Life cycle; Mollusca [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Sigurdsson, J.B.
  • Titman, C.W.
  • Davies, P.A.

Abstract
    The role of the byssus in dispersal of young, postlarval bivalves was investigated. Small scale currents in a vertical glass tube induced the secretion of a single, long thread which by increasing the viscous drag on the young bivalves, enabled them to be carried along on the current. This mechanism, termed byssus drifting, has been found to be present in the following 20 spp tested so far: Nucula tenuis, Mytilus edulis, Modiolus sp, Musculus marmoratus, Heteranomia squamula, Turtonia minuta, Montacuta ferruginosa, M. Substriata, Cardium echinatum, Venerupis pullastra, Mactra corallina, Spisula sp, Tellina tenuis, Gari fervensis, Abra alba, Donax vittatus, Cultellus pellucidus, Ensis sp., Hiatella arctica, H. gallicana, Myatruncata and Corbula gibba. A modified drag parameter was calculated for dead, active, i. e. drifting and inactive bivalves. The drag increase was found to be a factor of 3-30 times greater in active bivalves. It is concluded that byssus drifting is probably the mechanism used by post-larval bivalves entering on a 2nd pelagic or migratory phase. A prolongation of the larval pelagic phase by a post-larval 'bysso-pelagic' phase may be a regular feature of the life history of several sublittoral bivalve spp.

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