Harvesting practices of the clam Chionista fluctifraga show a decline in commercial size and densities, but no strategies have been developed to maintain clam beds. Aquaculture represents an alternative for preserving this resource. Adult clams from commercial grounds were used as broodstock. Conditioning, induction of spawning, cultivation of larvae, settlement of eyed larvae and nursing of postlarvae were performed in the hatchery for producing spat. Larvae and postlarvae were used to measure increase in shell height and data were fitted to exponential growth models. Spat were placed in floating trays and maintained in off-bottom cultivation for 9 months. Samples of clams and tissues were collected monthly to measure absolute growth, shell height increase and a condition index. Larvae, postlarvae and juveniles showed exponential growth patterns. Mean shell height increased about 0.030 mm day−1 during larval and post-larval stages and 0.049 mm day−1 during field cultivation. Pediveligers (height 215 ± 83 μm) entered metamorphosis at days 9–13 after fertilization, and postlarvae reached 3011.7 ± 325.5 μm (height) at day 60. After field cultivation, survival was about 95%; juvenile shell height was 20.6 ± 2.2 mm, and total weight was 5.3 ± 0.7 g. Growth rates were superior to natural conditions and the condition index was high throughout the study. Our results show that spat of C. fluctifraga can be produced in the hatchery, and that field production can be maintained in off-bottom trays until reaching commercial size. Aquaculture activities for this species need to be established and evaluated.
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© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
- larval rearing