Minimal Hybridization Between Populations of the Hard Clams, Mercenaria Mercenaria and Mercenaria Campechiensis, Co-occurring in South Carolina
The Indian River of Florida is the only region where the natural co-occurrence of Mercenaria mercenaria and M. campechiensis has been documented prior to this report. In the Indian River, interspecific hybridization is extensive. Here I report that M. campechiensis is present at a frequency of about 0.1% in large beds of M. mercenaria inhabiting a tidal creek near Charleston, SC. Collections from a commercial belt-harvester yielded a total of 27 pure M. campechiensis and only 6 hybrids, as judged using shell morphology and isozyme frequencies at 4 diagnostic loci. Reproductive isolation is clearly more complete in South Carolina than previously observed in Florida. I suggest that the two species may spawn in response to differing environmental cues in South Carolina, and that such cues may weaken as seasonality diminishes further south.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 May 1992
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