BIOTIC Species Information for Nucula nitidosa
Click here to view the MarLIN Key Information Review for Nucula nitidosa
Researched byLizzie Tyler Data supplied byUniversity of Sheffield
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismLecithotrophic
Reproductive SeasonAutumn Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyAnnual protracted Regeneration potential No
Life span6-10 years Age at reproductive maturity1-2 years
Generation timeSee additional information Fecundity
Egg/propagule size120 µm diameter Fertilization typeInsufficient information
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialSee additional information Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage2-10 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationSexual maturity
In a population of Nucula nitidosa in Dublin Bay most individuals became sexually mature in their second year (Davis & Wilson, 1983b).

Trevallion (1965; cited in Rachor, 1976) reported that in UK waters, Nucula nitidosa matures from spring to summer and spawns in autumn. No winter spawning was observed. However, according to Allen (1953b, 1954) reproduction during winter is probable in British waters. In Dublin Bay, Davis & Wilson (1985) reported that the gametes of Nucula nitidosa were ripening during June and August. In mid September one single spawning event was reported when over 90% of the sexually mature population spawned (Wilson & Davis, 1938b). It was also suggested that low level spawning may commence in July (Davis & Wilson, 1983a). Davis & Wilson (1938a) suggest the reason for the differences in different populations of Nucula nitidosa is uncertain but may be due to intraspecific differences.

Nucula nitidosa produces unusually large eggs with a high lipid content for a bivalve, which helps to sustain the leicthotrophic development of the larvae (Wilson, 1992). Lebour (1938) reported that the length of Nucula nitidosa eggs was about 90 µm. Whereas Rachor (1976) and Davis & Wilson (1983a) reported that the size of Nucula nitidosa eggs ranged from 100-150 µm

Survival of larvae
Wilson (1992) estimated that for a population of Nucula nitidosa spawning, effort would be around 1.1 million potential recruits annually and that survivorship from a juvenile state to appearance in the adult population would be just 1 in 10,000.

Nucula nitidosa were thought to have a life-span of over 20 years (Allen, 1953b). But subsequent studies on population structure and productivity in the German Bight suggested a life -span of 12 years (Rachor, 1976), and in Dublin Bay, a life-span of 5-7 years was reported (Davis & Wilson, 1983b, 1985), which suggested a more normal life-span of some 7-10 years (Wilson, 1992).

Mortality rates
Rachor (1976) reported that the mortality rate of Nucula nitidosa was very uncertain. A population of Nucula nitidosa was studied in Dublin Bay. Low larval and adult mortality rates were reported for several years, which was followed by high mortality when adults reached old age (Davis & Wilson, 1983b).
Reproduction References Lebour, 1938, Davis & Wilson, 1985, Rachor, 1976, Wilson, 1992, Davis & Wilson, 1983b, Davis & Wilson, 1983a, Allen, 1953b, Allen, 1954, Julie Bremner, unpub data,
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