Polar Biology

, 32:517 | Cite as

The annual reproductive pattern of the Antarctic clam, Laternula elliptica from Marian Cove, King George Island

  • Do-Hyung Kang
  • In-Young Ahn
  • Kwang-Sik ChoiEmail author
Original Paper


The annual reproductive cycle of the Antarctic soft-shelled clam, Laternula elliptica, in Marian Cove, King George Island was studied over a 2-year period from February 1998 to January 2000. Annual changes in the gametogenesis were investigated by measuring the percentage of area occupied by oocytes in a follicle [follicle index (FI)] and the oocyte size. In 1998, the monthly mean FI increased significantly from October to November, peaked in December, and decreased rapidly from December to January. In February and March 1999, degenerated eggs were observed in the spent follicles. Degeneration and resorption of residual eggs by phagocytosis occurred mostly in February and March in both 1998 and 1999, although the resorption process was observed year-round. The histology indicated that complete vitellogenic growth of L. ellpitica at Marian Cove takes at least a year and the clams spawn annually during the austral summer. The ripening and subsequent spawning of clams at Marian Cove in 1998 and 1999 coincided with the algal blooming (September–October 1998 and December and January 1999–2000) suggesting that in coastal Antarctica food supply is a crucial factor that governs gonad maturation and subsequent spawning along with the water temperature.


Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica Reproduction Food availability Follicle index Oocyte growth Egg resorption 



This research was part of the project Status and changes of polar indicator species and coastal/terrestrial ecosystems (PE08040) and was supported by the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) of the Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI). This study was also supported in part by the Korea Research Foundation (KRF) through The Second Stage of BK21 and KRF-2005-213-F00005 to Kang DH. We are grateful to the divers, Mr. Hyunsoo Kim and Mr. Sungsoo Han, for collecting the clams, and to Dr. Joseph G. Loesch for reviewing an early draft of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Living Resources Research DepartmentKorea Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI)SeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) of KORDIIncheonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.School of Applied Marine ScienceCheju National UniversityJejuRepublic of Korea

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