BIOTIC Species Information for Mya arenaria
Click here to view the MarLIN Key Information Review for Mya arenaria
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
General Biology
Growth formBivalved
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Active suspension feeder
Mobility/MovementBurrower
Environmental positionInfaunal
Typical food typesPhytoplankton, small zooplankton, benthic diatoms, suspended particulates and dissolved organic matter. HabitBurrow dwelling
Bioturbator FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeMedium(11-20 cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth RateSee additional information
Adult dispersal potential100-1000m DependencyIndependent
SociabilitySolitary
Toxic/Poisonous?No
General Biology Additional InformationMya arenaria populations demonstrate pronounced patchiness, e.g. in the Dutch Wadden Sea its abundance varies from high to low. Patchiness seems to be typical in Mya arenaria and has been reported from Sweden and North America (Strasser et al.,1999; Strasser pers. comm.).

Growth rates: Mya arenaria generally grows fastest in its first years with growth rate decreasing with age, although linear rates of growth have also been reported (Strasser, 1999). Growth is rapid in favourable conditions but rates vary with location, e.g. Mya sp. grew to 51 mm in 6-7 years in Alaska, but this size was attained in 1.5 years in Connecticut (Brousseau & Baglivo, 1987). Similarly, marketable size ( 4-5 cm long) was reached within 1.5 years in Chesapeake Bay, but took 5 years in New Brunswick, Canada. Growth rates are affected by population density, sediment type, salinity, emergence time, water flow rates, disturbance, latitude and pollution (Newell & Hidu, 1986; Strasser, 1999).

Seasonal growth rates: growth is generally greatest in late spring and early summer and slowest in cold winters e.g. in New England (Newell & Hidu, 1986). Rapid growth is correlated with the phytoplankton bloom and therefore food availability but may also be affected by temperature and spawning (Stickney, 1964; Brousseau, 1979; Newell & Hidu, 1986).
Biology References Fish & Fish, 1996, Campbell, 1994, Hayward et al., 1996, Tebble, 1976, Newell & Hidu, 1986, Strasser, 1999, Brousseau & Baglivo, 1987, Brousseau, 1979, Stickney, 1964, Clay, 1966, Brousseau, 1987, Newell, 1982, Armonies, 1994, Brousseau, 1978(b), Kühl, 1981, Gibbons & Blogoslawski, 1989, Anonymous, 1996, Hawkins, 1994, Kammermans, 1994, Dow & Wallace, 1961, Beukema, 1995, McLaughlin & Faisal, 2000, Hayward & Ryland, 1990,
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