Marine Biology

, Volume 143, Issue 6, pp 1117–1125 | Cite as

Adaptations of subtropical Venus clams to predation and desiccation: endurance of Gafrarium tumidum and avoidance of Ruditapes variegatus

  • T. KuriharaEmail author


Intertidal endobenthic bivalves are often dislodged from sediments by hydrodynamic forces. As a result, they encounter the dangers of predation and desiccation, which are generally harsh near the sediment surface. To cope with such dangers, the bivalves possibly possess: (1) a strong body to endure predation and desiccation stress, (2) quick mobility to avoid the stresses, or (3) a high growth rate for attaining a size refuge. The present study examined which of these modes are adopted by the subtropical cobbled-shore Venus clams Gafrarium tumidum (Röding, 1798) and Ruditapes variegatus (Sowerby, 1852), revealing the following interspecific differences. (1) G. tumidum survived better than R. variegatus did in harsh experimental conditions, namely: the experimental cages exposed to predation and desiccation on a cobbled shore; a laboratory aquarium with a predatory crab Scylla serrata; and ovens with high temperatures (27°C and 34°C). (2) R. variegatus was more mobile than G. tumidum was, digging into the sediment on a cobbled shore more rapidly at both high and low tides. (3) The two species with shell lengths 20–30 mm showed similar growth rates (median: −0.2 to 44.5 μm day−1) in seasonal mark–recapture surveys over 2 years. Overall, to cope with the dangers of predation and desiccation G. tumidum appears to have a strong body, while R. variegatus displays rapid mobility, and neither species seems to attain a size refuge through rapid growth. Such species-specific modes are discussed in relation to the interspecific differences found in shell morphology.


Bivalve Sediment Surface Shell Length Cobble Sandy Sediment 
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.



I am obliged to Drs. Y. Shimadzu, Y. Takada, S. Wada and an anonymous referee for their constructive comments regarding this manuscript. I thank Mrs. Y. Hosokawa for her help with the measurement of samples. I am indebted to the staff of the Ishigaki Tropical Station for their advice and assistance during the study. The present study was supported in part by the Fisheries Research Center Seeds Research Program. The experiments in the present study comply with the current laws of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ishigaki Tropical StationSeikai National Fisheries Research InstituteOkinawaJapan

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