BIOTIC Species Information for Littorina littorea
Researched byAngus Jackson Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr David Reid
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismPlanktotrophic
Reproductive SeasonFebruary to June Reproductive LocationWater column
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life span6-10 years Age at reproductive maturity<1 year
Generation time3-5 years FecundityUp to 100,000 for large females
Egg/propagule sizeEgg capsules ca 1 mm across Fertilization typeInternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential>10km Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage11-30 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationThis species can breed throughout the year but the length and timing of the breeding period are extremely dependent on climatic conditions. Also, estuaries provide a more nutritious environment than the open coast (Fish, 1972). Sexes are separate, and fertilisation is internal. Littorina littorea sheds egg capsules directly into the sea. Egg capsules are about 1mm across and each biconvex capsule can contain up to nine eggs but normally there are only two or three eggs per capsule. Egg release is synchronized with spring tides. In estuaries the population matures earlier in the year and maximum spawning occurs in January. Fecundity value is up to 100,000 for a large female (27mm shell height) per year. Eggs are released on several separate occasions. Female fecundity increases with size. Larval settling time or pelagic phase can be up to six weeks. Males prefer to breed with larger, more fecund females. Parasitism by trematodes may cause sterility.
Reproduction References Hayward et al., 1996, Fish & Fish, 1996, Fish, 1972, Fretter & Graham, 1994, Newell & Newell, 1977, Erlandsson & Johannesson, 1992, MBA, 1957, Rutherford, Web pages, Hughes & Roberts, 1980,
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