Reproduction of an alien Ruditapes clam (Bivalvia: Veneridae) on recreational clam-gathering grounds in Tokyo Bay, Japan.
The Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum is an important fisheries resource and popular recreational native species in Japan. To counter the domestic shortage of Manila clams caused by depleted catches, similar clams were introduced into Japan from China and the Korean peninsula. The introduced clam is an unnamed morph closely related to R. philippinarum that originates from southern China. Its shell is morphologically different from that of the typical Manila clam and there are small but distinct genetic differences. There is evidence to suggest that the Chinese morph may hybridize with the Manila clam in the Ariake Sea, but not in Tokyo Bay. We carried out studies to determine the degree of overlap of the breeding seasons of both taxa by collecting samples of the Manila clam and the alien clam released onto recreational clam-gathering grounds in Tokyo Bay and their gonadal maturity was examined histologically. Spawning-stage individuals of the Manila clam appeared from April to August and those of the southern Chinese morph from July to August, indicating overlapping spawning periods and thus the potential for hybridization. We discussed the forming condition of the hybridized clam population in terms of reproduction and recruitment process of the clams.