Marine Biology

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 15–23 | Cite as

Observations on shell deformities, ultrastructure, and increment formation in the bay scallop Argopecten irradians

  • R. E. Palmer


Shell morphology and ultrastructure were examined in the bay scallop Argopecten irradians, cultured in recirculating seawater systems under various conditions of feeding, lighting, and handling. On a unialgal diet of Thalassiosira pseudonana, scallop growth ranged from 120 to 183 μm d-1 at 20°C in the laboratory, about two-thirds of the growth rate found in the field. However, shell deposited in the laboratory differed from that in the field in several ways. In the field, scallops formed costae as an unpigmented, corrugated marginal shell layer; shell deposited in the laboratory lacked this layer and was therefore darker. Also, microstructure of the exterior shell surface of field scallops was coarsely granular, while that of cultured scallops was relatively smooth. Excessive handling of scallops in the laboratory resulted in marginal thickening of valves, a deformity which was completely arrested by a change from daily to weekly handling. Scallops cultured in the same tank with oysters developed shell-thickening on the interior of the valves. It is postulated that shell abnormalities in bivalves result from disruption of complex behavioral processes associated with shell deposition and may be elicited by a variety of natural and experimental irritants. Under natural lighting regimes and optimal conditions for growth, scallops deposited exactly one shell increment per day, but under continuous lighting, deposition of growth increments often became aphasic. In one 28-d experiment, there was a strong correlation between number of growth increments formed and increase in shell height, suggesting that shell ridge formation occurred intermittently, rather than daily, when shell growth rates fell below approximately 150 μm d-1.


Growth Increment Shell Height Thalassiosira Pseudonana Shell Deposition Marginal Shell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. Palmer
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Marine StudiesUniversity of DelawareLewesUSA

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