Alternate Title

Growth and Production of the Dwarf Surf Clam Mulinia lateralis (Say 1822) in a Georgia Estuary

Document Type



The bivalve Mulinia lateralis is a dominant member of estuarine benthos, but its presence and abundance in Georgia estuarine waters is sporadic over time. Recruitment and production was monitored from 1977 through 1981 at three inner and one outer more saline ( > 18 ppt) areas of Wassaw Sound. Until the winter of 1981, Mulinia lateralis was absent or at very low densities. Significant settlement occurred in January 1981 when densities in the outer sound reached as high as 63,000 individuals • m-2). The clam was more abundant in sandy mud (x̄ = 10,161 • m-2) than mud (x̄=277 • m-2) or sand (x̄=263 • m-2).Cohort production varied from 0.3 g dry wt • m-2 • 4 months-1 in the inner sound to 325 g dry wt • m-2 • 7 months-1 in the outer Sound, with the mean biomass ranging from 0.6 to 513 g dry wt • m-2, respectively. When present, Mulinia lateralis contributes significantly to benthic production available to commercially valuable fish and crabs. That this food resource is annually and seasonally episodic could contribute to year-to-year fluctuations in production of species preying on benthos.

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