Age determination of the soft-shell clam Mya arenaria using shell internal growth lines
- Cite this article as:
- MacDonald, B.A. & Thomas, M.L.H. Mar. Biol. (1980) 58: 105. doi:10.1007/BF00396121
Shells of known-age Mya arenaria have revealed an internal annual growth pattern in this bivalve. The number of external growth rings on the shell exterior does not correspond to the age of the clams. This study provides an alternative method to using external annual rings for age determination. The internal growth lines are visible in thin sections when the shells are cut from the umbo to the ventral margin. The lines are formed by late spring of each year prior to spawning and are probably in response to decreased winter growth. When the 7 year olds were examined it was difficult to distinguish the most recent growth line and the inner shell layer. This could result in ages being underestimated. This annual pattern of internal growth lines could be useful to biologists and paleoecologists engaged in population studies.