The reproductive cycle of Pecten sulcicostatus is described as part of an investigation into the potential commercial culture of this species in South Africa. Scallops were collected monthly from False Bay, from August 2004 to October 2005, to determine seasonal variation in the gonadosomatic index (GSI) and to assess associated histological changes within the gonads. The reproductive cycle of P. sulcicostatus demonstrated clear seasonality. The mean GSI was highest from June to September (winter to early spring), and lowest from November to January (late spring to summer). The GSI findings were corroborated by histological analysis of the gonads with the mean oocyte diameter reaching a maximum in August and a minimum in November. Seasonal stratification and corresponding changes in phytoplankton biomass are considered to control the reproductive cycle of P. sulcicostatus in False Bay as winter spawning and the subsequent decline in the GSI coincide with the transition to spring upwelling conditions and a decline in bottom water temperature and food availability.
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Vol. 27 • No. 2