Abstract

Arca zebra is a mollusk of commercial value and a major socioeconomic fishery in Northeastern Venezuela. The present study aimed to evaluate the reproductive effort (RE), fattening index (FI) and yield (Y) in different size groups of A. zebra from the morro Chacopata, Venezuela. For this, monthly samplings from June 2008 and June 2009, were undertaken, and the bivalves obtained were distributed in three length groups: I (30.1 to 50.0 mm), II (50.1 to 70.0 mm) and III (> 70.0 mm). Monthly RE, FI and Y were determined based on bivalve changes in volume of fresh meat (VFM), intervalvar volume (IV), dry gonad biomass (DW), dry biomass of the organism without gonad (DWs), fresh biomass of meat (FBM) and total biomass including shell (TBIS). Besides, environmental variables such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, total organic and inorganic seston and chlorophyll a were measured monthly. There was great variation in the DW between length groups (relevant for II and III): increased from June until late September 2008, was followed by a marked decrease in October 2008, recovered in the following months, and decreased in January 2009, with a slight increase until May 2009; these changes were associated with variations in sea temperature. The weight of the gonad (DW) influenced the RE, FI and Y, as these reached their peaks in the months where there was higher gonadal production, indicating the influence of temperature on A. zebra reproduction
Keywords: reproductive effort, fattening index, yield, Arca zebra.