Abstract

The freshwater snail Pomacea flagellata is native from Southeastern Mexico. Studies about this species are scarce and none has treated their reproduction. This snail has been exploited at Bacalar lagoon for many years, leading to a significant decrease in their abundance and currently, a permanent ban was proposed by the government. This work aimed to assess the temporal variations of mating frequency and the abundance of egg clutches of P. flagellata at Bacalar lagoon, as well as their relation with snails density and environmental variables. Sampling was done during the three climatic seasons: Rainy (July, August and September/2012), North or Cold fronts (December/2012 and January and February/2013) and Dry (March, April and May/2013) in 12 sampling stations located along the Bacalar lagoon. On each station a transect of 100 m length was set parallel to the edge, and the number of fresh egg clutches (pink color) laid over vegetation, rocks or manmade structures, were counted. In the water, three 50 x 2 m transects were set and the number of snails were counted as well as the mating frequency. Density of snails varied significantly among seasons, decreasing from the rainy to the dry season. There were no significant differences of snail abundance among months, nested in climatic seasons (ANOVA, p>0.05). During the rainy season the mating frequency was significantly higher than in the Norths, meanwhile in the dry season no mating were registered (Kruskal-Wallis, p˂0.05). Eggs clutches appeared from July to March. Density of egg clutches presented no differences between the Rainy and the North seasons (2.72 and 2.93 clutches/m, respectively), nonetheless during the dry season abundance of egg masses was significantly lower (0.1 clutches/m) (H, p˂0.05). Mating frequency was related with snail abundance (rs= 0.26; p<0.05) and water temperature (rs= 0.34; p<0.05) and the abundance of egg masses is related with snail abundance (rs= 0.46; p<0.05). In general, we observed that reproductive activity of P. flagellata at Bacalar lagoon is related with the warmer months and with higher rainfall. This finding is relevant to support the management of this resource in the region, so that to implement any management arrangement they must be aware that a temporal ban is necessary during the reproductive season at least.
Keywords: Pomacea flagellata, apple-snail, reproduction, management, Bacalar lagoon.