New species longevity record for the northern quahog (=hard clam), mercenaria mercenaria

Iain D. Ridgway, C. A. Richardson, E. Enos, Z. Ungvari, S. N. Austad, E. E.R. Philipp, Anna Csiszar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Twenty-two large shells (>90 mm shell height) from a sample of live collected hard shell clams, Mercenaria mercenaria, from Buzzards Bay, Woods Hole, Cape Cod, MA, were subjected to sclerochronological analysis. Annually resolved growth lines in the hinge region and margin of the shell were identified and counted; the age of the oldest clam shell was determined to be at least 106 y. This age represents a considerable increase in the known maximum life span for M. mercenaria, more than doubling the maximum recorded life span of the species (46 y). More than 85% of the clam shells aged had more than 46 annual increments, the previous known maximum life span for the species. In this article we present growth rate and growth performance indicators (the overall growth performance and phi prime) for this record-breaking population of M. mercenaria. Recently discovered models of aging require accurate age records and growth parameters for bivalve populations if they are to be utilized to their full potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-38
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Shellfish Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Mercenaria mercenaria
  • longevity record
  • maximum life span

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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