BIOTIC Species Information for Thyasira gouldi
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
General Biology
Growth formBivalved
Feeding methodSymbiont contribution
Active suspension feeder
Environmental positionInfaunal
Typical food typesSuspended organic matter and digestion of mutualistic bacteria. HabitBurrow dwelling
Bioturbator FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeVery small(<1cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth Rate1 mm/year
Adult dispersal potentialNot researched DependencyMutualist with/on/in
General Biology Additional InformationThyasira gouldi has been found up to 1,500 individuals per square metre but typically below 500. Such abundances may no longer exist in Scottish waters. It is difficult to define an adult size range as there appears no specific point where juveniles become adult. Values provided are roughly maximum size where size refers to shell length. Large numbers of a mutualistic bacterium live sub-cuticularly in the gills of Thyasira gouldi (and several other thyasirids). The bacteria are chemoautotrophic and oxidise sulphur in order to assimilate carbon dioxide. Carbon isotope ratios indicate that digestion of these bacteria contributes considerably to the nutrition of this species. Although the bacteria utilise sulphur the bivalves inhabit sediment with very little free sulphide. The relationship is not thought to be obligate but the presence of the bacterium is very beneficial to the brachiopod. Eleven percent of a population of Thyasira gouldi in Loch Etive was infected with the parasitic copepod Axinophylus thyasirae Blacknell & Ansell, 1975). This parasite inhabits the mantle cavity and causes lower body weights and indirect castration. The female parasites reach sizes of 4.5 mm and there can be up to five parasites per host causing massive restriction of the cavity and interfering with feeding currents.
Biology References Blacknell & Ansell, 1975, Southward, 1986, Blacknell & Ansell, 1974, Southward & Southward, 1991, Dando & Southward, 1986, Anonymous, 1999(g),
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