Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 2, pp 319–326 | Cite as

Age and growth of the naticid gastropod Polinices pulchellus (Gastropoda: Naticidae) based on length frequency analysis and statolith growth rings

  • C. A. RichardsonEmail author
  • P. R. Kingsley-Smith
  • R. Seed
  • E. Chatzinikolaou
Research Article


In Red Wharf Bay, UK the naticid gastropod, Polinices pulchellus, was more abundant and more highly aggregated during the summer months (June–August 2001) than during the winter (December 2000). Whilst small numbers of juvenile P. pulchellus (4–6 mm shell length) were present throughout the year the population consisted mainly of individuals of 12–14 mm shell length. Juvenile snails grew rapidly in size during the winter and early spring; growth then virtually ceased between May and June, following which there was a further period of rapid growth between August and February. Densities ranged between 57 and 4,073 ha−1 and the largest individual collected during this investigation measured 16.2 mm in shell length. Statoliths from adult P. pulchellus revealed the presence of a settlement ring and two prominent growth rings (rings 1 and 2). A curvilinear relationship exists between statolith diameter and shell length in snails up to 16 mm in length. Settlement rings ranged in diameter from 19.7 to 45.2 μm (mean 29.8 μm; SE=0.41) giving an estimated shell length of the settled juvenile of 1.1 mm. The diameter of ring 1 and ring 2 were significantly correlated indicating that rapid growth during the first year is maintained during year 2. Shell lengths estimated from the diameters of the prominent statolith rings and those obtained from length frequency data analysis (LFDA), were broadly congruent strongly suggesting an annual periodicity to the statolith rings. The largest snails (>15 mm) present within this population were estimated to be between 2 and 3 years old. Von Bertallanfy seasonal growth curves obtained from the LFDA predicted values of L∞, K and t0 of 14.32 mm, 1.54 and −0.14 years, respectively, suggesting that P. pulchellus rapidly attains its maximum asymptotic size.


Shell Length Growth Ring Muddy Sand Annual Periodicity Length Frequency Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Gwynn Parry Jones and Berwyn Roberts for their continued help in obtaining the naticid gastropods used in this study. The help of Jessica Taylor and Camille Saurel in refining the techniques for sectioning the statoliths is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Richardson
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. R. Kingsley-Smith
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Seed
    • 1
  • E. Chatzinikolaou
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Ocean SciencesUniversity of Wales BangorWalesUK
  2. 2.Eastern Shore laboratoryVirginia Institute of Marine ScienceWachapreagueUSA

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