Seasonal variations in storage, partitioning, and allocation of energy reserves (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and triglycerides) between germinal and somatic tissues (gonad, digestive gland, mantle tissue, and adductor muscle), were investigated related to reproduction of Pacific winged pearl oyster Pteria sterna. Tissue samples were collected every three months and analyzed with histological and biochemical techniques. Energy coefficients were also calculated with data from chemical composition of tissues. Gonad samples in almost all developmental stages occurred throughout the year, suggesting that P. sterna is a multispawning species. The evidence indicates that the main reproductive season runs from January through April (21°C to 22°C) and was identified by higher frequency of ripe gonads, more and larger postvitellogenic oocytes and higher protein, lipid, and triglyceride levels in gonad tissue. Within this study period, there were two spawning peaks, July 2003 and January 2004. Gametogenesis was sustained from energy mainly obtained from the digestive gland and secondly from the adductor muscle. Only proteins from these two tissues were mobilized to the gonad for maturation of sex organs, because carbohydrates were stored despite the progress of gametogenesis. The role of mantle tissue was negligible. P. sterna appears to use a combination of stored reserves (conservative strategy) and food supply (opportunistic strategy) as an overall strategy to regulate reproduction.
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Vol. 27 • No. 2