II. HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
Regional Occurrence: Argopecten irradians concentricusoccurs in seagrass beds in Atlantic coastal waters from New Jersey to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico (Kruczynski 1972, Fay et al. 1983, Arnold et al. 1998, Irlandi et al. 1999).
III. LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION BIOLOGY
Age, Size, Lifespan:
Adult bay scallops range in size from 55 to 90 mm (Fay et al. 1983). The average life span of Argopecten irradians concentricusis 12 - 18 months (Barber and Blake 1985a). The longest living individuals will live for 26 months (Fay et al. 1983). The larval mortality rate is somewhat high. It can range from 10%-50% within the first 8 days of settlement. High water temperatures in the summer months can lead to a shortened lifespan in adults (Blake 2005).
The Argopecten irradians concentricusfishery along the east coast of
the United States has collapsed since the 1950s (Blake 2005). This
species is very sensitive to natural (i.e. hurricanes, red tide events) as
well as anthropogenic (i.e. overharvesting and habitat loss) processes
(Summerson and Peterson 1990, Blake 2005). The decline in seagrass beds on
the west coast of Florida may be a large contributing factor to the loss of
bay scallop populations. Studies from several regions suggest that
inadequate larval supply does not allow A. irradians concentricus to
recover rapidly from depletion events (Arnold et al. 1998). In areas where
the bay scallop does thrive, densities can be as high as 24.8 individuals
per m2 (Fay et a1. 1983).
Adult Argopecten irradians concentricus swim by "clapping" pulsed expulsions of
water from the mantle cavity. Bay scallops exhibit a "zig-zag" swimming
pattern by alternating water expulsions between the anterior and posterior
gapes in the shell (Fay et a1. 1983).
The bay scallop is a functional hermaphrodite, having both male and female
sex organs (Barber and Blake 1985b). It is protandrous, releasing male
gametes before the female gametes, to avoid self-fertilization (Fay et a1.
1983). Spawning will not occur until seawater temperatures reach 20°C.
Individuals of Argopecten irradians concentricushave one
reproductive cycle during their lifetime. Oocyte development begins in
August and spawning usually occurs by October (Barber and Blake 1985b).
Argopecten irradians concentricushave planktotrophic veliger larvae
that appear within 48 hours after fertilization. The pediveliger, with a
hinged shell and a fully developed foot stage emerges at approximately 10
days. Settlement and metamorphosis occurs in less than 2 weeks (Fay et a1.
1983). Peak recruitment during the fall in the Suwannee River, Florida
region in the mid-1990's was reported to be approximately 20 spat per day.
This was similar to what has been previously reported for the North
Carolina basins and Long Island, New York (Arnold et al. 1998). The growth
of juvenile bay scallops is rapid during the spring months and slows down
as water temperatures decrease in the fall (Irlandi et al. 1999).
IV. PHYSICAL TOLERANCES
Under laboratory conditions, the optimal temperature for the development of
bay scallop embryos is 21.9°C. When seawater temperature dropped below
15°C, or increased to temperatures above 30°C, bay scallop embryos could
not survive. Adult Argopecten irradians concentricusexhibit a small
increase in its oxygen intake when seawater temperatures increase (Barber
and Blake 1985b).
Under laboratory conditions, the optimal salinity for the development of
bay scallop embryos is 24.4 ppt Mortality occurred when salinities dropped
below 20 ppt or increased above 30 ppt (Tettlebach and Rhodes 1981). Adult
Argopecten irradians concentricusexhibit an increase in its ammonia
content in response to decreasing salinities (Barber and Blake 1985b).
V. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
The bay scallop is a filter feeder catching primarily phytoplankton in its gills (Burle and Kirby-Smith 1979, Fay et a1. 1983, Parker 2006).
Argopecten irradians concentricusis the most common host for Pinnotheres (Tumidotheres) maculates (squatter pea crab) in Bogue Sound, North Carolina. This symbiosis causes a decrease in the growth of Argopecten irradians concentricus (Kruczynski 1972, 1973).
VI. SPECIAL STATUS
Bay scallops are fished primarily by small dredges dragged by power boats. In shallow waters, rakes and hand-gathering methods are used. In areas where fishing is allowed, the bay scallop season is usually from autumn to spring, outside of the reproductive periods. In 1981 the dollar value of the bay scallop fishery was $2,427,000 (Fay et al. 1983). In 1995 the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission eliminated all commercial fishing of the bay scallop within state waters and put a cap on recreational fishing in areas near the mouth of the Suwannee River.
Because of the decline of natural populations, commercial bay scallops are primarily reared in aquaculture facilities. In Tampa Bay, Florida, scallops are maintained in cages suspended in the water column until they are ready to spawn (Blake 2005). The mortality of the settled larvae is usually between 10-50%. Larvae are maintained on a diet of algae grown in sterilized seawater. Settled spat are maintained in re-circulating systems for 30-45 days and then transferred to mesh bags that are hung 1.0 m deep in the bay until maturity. Each year wild caught adults are introduced to aquaculture populations to maintain genetic diversity. Bay scallops are sold to wholesalers dealing in the specialty market for $0.25 - 0.30 each (Blake 2005).
Arnold WS, Marelli DC, Bray CP and MM Harrison. 1998. Recruitment of bay scallops Argopecten irradians in Floridian Gulf of Mexico waters: scales of coherence. Marine Ecology Progress Series 170:143-157.
Blake NJ. 2005. Aquaculture of the Florida Bay scallop, Argopecten irradians concentricus, in Tampa Bay, Florida, USA, an urban estuary. In: Urban Aquaculture. Eds: Costa-Pierce, B., Desbonnet, A., Edwards, P. and Baker, D. Oxford University Press 304 pages.
Barber BJ and NJ Blake. 1985a. Intra-organ biochemical transformations associated with oogenesis in the bay scallop, Argopecten irradians concentricus(Say), as indicated by 14C incorporation. Biological Bulletin 168:39-49.
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Burle E and WW Kirby-Smith. 1979. Growth of the bay scallop, Argopecten irradians, fed on an artificial diet rich in protein. Estuaries. 2:206-208.
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Irlandi EA, Orlando BA, and WG Ambrose, Jr. 1999. Influence of seagrass habitat patch size on growth and survival of juvenile bay scallops, Argopecten irradians concentricus(Say). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 235:21-43.
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Kruczynski WL 1973. Distribution and abundance of Pinnotheres maculatus Say in Bogue Sound, North Carolina. Biological Bulletin 145:482-291.
Mikkelsen, PM and R Bieler. 2008. Seashells of Southern Florida. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. pg. 142.
Parker K. 2006. Bay scallops saltwater early-warning systems. Florida Wildlife May/June 2006. pg 54-55.
Summerson HC and CH Peterson. 1990. Recruitment failure of the bay scallop Argopecten irradians concentricus, during the first red tide,Ptychodiscus brevis, outbreak recorded in North Carolina. Estuaries 13:322-331.
Tettlebach ST and EW Rhodes. 1981. Combined effects of temperature and salinity on embryos and larvae of the northern bay scallop Argopecten irradians concentricus. Marine Biology 63:249-256.
Melany P. Puglisi, Smithsonian Marine Station
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Page last updated: October 1, 2008