Marine Biology

, Volume 118, Issue 1, pp 89–100 | Cite as

Shell structure and behaviour related to cementation in oysters

  • K. Yamaguchi


Shell microstructure and mantle behaviour relating to shell cementation was studied on adult oysters,Crassostrea gigas, Saccostrea mordax, andS. kegaki (collected from Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, in 1989 and 1990). At the place of cementation, the prismatic structure of the outermost shell layer is modified to a significant structure. This structure, named the ‘ridge-and-furrow structure’, consists of calcified ridges a few microns wide separated by furrows, both arranged parallel to the shell growth direction. The furrows are ultimately filled by shell material. The prismatic and ridge-and-furrow structures gradually merge in a transitional area where an intermediate type of the two structures occurs. The small size of the crystal units of the ridges and furrows is due to the close distribution of crystal seeds, especially close to pre-existing ridges. This is the basis of the difference between the ridge-and-furrow and the prismatic structures and also makes the former structure functional for cementation, in contrast to the latter. At the site of ongoing shell cementation, the mantle margin adpresses the shell margin onto the substrate. Experiments show that this pressing action is essential for cementation and probably also for the formation of the ridge-and-furrow structure. Even the right valve, which oysters nerve use to cement in natural conditions, forms the ridge-and-furrow structure and cements to the substrate if the pressing action of its mantle margin is induced under artificial conditions. Behavioural changes probably led oysters to switch from byssal attachment to cementation within a short time span when they acquired their cementing habit.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Yamaguchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology and Mineralogy, Faculty of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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