The reproductive cycle of the eared ark Anadara notabilis and its relationship with environmental factors was evaluated every 15 days between March 2004 and February 2005 at the northern part of the Peninsula de Araya, Venezuela. Environmental factors measured included temperature, salinity, chlorophyll a, and total seston, including the particulate organic matter and particulate inorganic matter fractions. Adult specimens were collected using a net drag and then randomly selected to estimate wet live biomass and dry biomass of soft body tissues. Gonad samples were processed with histological analysis to determine sex ratio, developmental stages, and variations of follicle size. Reproduction in A. nolabilis was continuous throughout the year, with spawning peaks occurring in June and October, coinciding with the lowest water temperatures. In March, September, and November 2004, specimens attained the highest dry biomass values, whereas lowest dry biomass occurred in June and October 2004. Stepwise regression analyses demonstrated that temperature and particulate organic matter values are the main modulators of reproductive events. When temperature decreased, dribble spawning was detected in this species, possibly inducing a survival strategy whereby the spawning period is extended to increase reproductive success.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1