Marine Biology

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 173–179 | Cite as

Digestion in a subtidal population of Mercenaria mercenaria (Bivalvia)

  • W. E. Robinson
  • R. W. Langton


The digestive processes of Mercenaria mercenaria (Linn.) were studied in a natural subtidal population. Hourly sampling of 4 to 5 quahogs was conducted over one 25 h period in August, 1978, at Woods Hole, Ma., USA. Crystalline style length did not vary significantly with time, tide, particulate C, N or suspended material in the water. Changes in secretory activity of the style sac epithelium were not evident from histological sections. Based on cellular morphological differences, digestive tubules were individually classified into one of 4 categories, indicative of the state of intracellular digestion within the digestive cells. All 4 tubule types were present in individuals from each sample hour, signifying that intracellular digestion occurs continually within the digestive gland. A 3 h time lag is evident between times of peak C, N or suspended materials and apparent peak levels of absorptive (Type II) tubules.


Bivalvia Histological Section Morphological Difference Peak Level Digestive Gland 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. Robinson
    • 1
  • R. W. Langton
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Science InstituteNortheastern UniversityNahantUSA
  2. 2.Northeast Fisheries CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServiceWoods HoleUSA

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