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Survival and reproduction of the mussel Xenostrobus securis (Lam.) (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Mytilidae) in a Western Australian estuary
Wilson, B.R. (1968). Survival and reproduction of the mussel Xenostrobus securis (Lam.) (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Mytilidae) in a Western Australian estuary. J. Nat. Hist. 2(3): 307-328.
In: Journal of Natural History. Taylor & Francis: London. ISSN 0022-2933; e-ISSN 1464-5262, more
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  • Wilson, B.R.

    The Swan estuary is subject to extreme temporal and spatial variations in salinity. Downstream populations of the mussel Xenostrobus securis (Lamarck, 1819) are exposed to a seasonal range from 1·5‰. Cl to 20·0‰. Cl. In summer the estuary is progressively filled with saline water from the sea; in winter it is flooded by fresh river run-off water from the heavy and concentrated winter rains. The autumn fall in salinity is usually very rapid and constitutes a severe physiological shock for organisms inhabiting the estuary. The physiography and hydrology of the Swan estuary are described. Experiments are reported on the salinity tolerance and behavioural responses to salinity stresses of adult mussels and larval stages. Adult mussels show no ability to osmoregulate (except possibly at very low salinities). They can tolerate environmental chlorinities at least as high as 31‰. Cl and can withstand sudden dilutions from at least 18‰. down to 1‰. They are capable of survival at 1‰. for many months. Closure of the shell valves in response to sudden dilutions of the medium is a behavioural mechanism minimizing physiological shock. Adult mussels remain inactive with the valves closed indefinitely at chlorinities below 2‰. However, the internal body fluids of the mussels become isotonic with the medium after a few days. Adult salinity tolerance and behavioural responses are sufficient to meet the conditions occurring in the estuary, and adult salinity tolerance is unlikely to limit distribution of the species. In laboratory dishes eggs may be successfully fertilized, and normal cleavage occurs in water between about 8 to 9‰. and 17·5‰. Cl. This tolerance range of developing larvae imposes upstream limits on the distribution of the mussel and precludes any possibility of larval dispersal between adjacent estuaries by way of the sea.

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