Movement and Migration of the Queen Conch, Strombus Gigas, in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Abstract:A population of more than 10,000 queen conchs (Strombus gigas) was studied at Six Hill Cays, Turks and Caicos Islands, B.W.I., from March 1974 through October 1975. Average population density from July 1974 through April 1975 was 9.48 conchs per 100 m2. Age ratios were nearly 3 juveniles to 1 adult throughout the year. Neither density nor age ratio was altered by either of two migrations during that time. A dramatic density decrease in July 1975 was attributed to a sudden increase of conch fishing in the area.
The population resided along a Syringodium bed parallel to shore during the summer (March–September) and shifted offshore beyond the grass to sparse algae and sand during the winter. Conchs moved least from November through February. Conchs from 10.0 to 13.0 cm in length remained within about 1,000 m2; conchs 13.0 to 16.0 cm in length remained within about 1,500 m2 to 5,000 m2; larger conchs left the study area too frequently for accurate ranges to be established. The juvenile portion of the population was resident; the adult portion ranged within a radius of about 2 km from the periphery of both Six Hill Cays. An eastward migration along the cay occurred in September 1974 and a reverse move westward occurred in March 1975. The main migration participants were adults.
Conchs of all ages bury into the sand for short periods during winter storms. Burying by adults for 6 weeks has been recorded during winter months. Burying is not necessary for shell secretion but appears to indicate a dormancy period.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 1979
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