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Free Content Minimal Hybridization Between Populations of the Hard Clams, Mercenaria Mercenaria and Mercenaria Campechiensis, Co-occurring in South Carolina

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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.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1992

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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