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Does cadmium pollution affect reproduction in the clamRuditapes decussatus? A one-year case study

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C Toxicology & Pharmacology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2006.02.009
  • Condition Index
  • Field Study
  • Gametogenesis Scale
  • Gulf Of Gabès
  • Hermaphroditic Species
  • Histology
  • Maturity Index
  • Reproduction
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract The effect of cadmium (Cd) on the reproduction of Ruditapes decussatus was monitored over a period of 12 months, from June 2001 to June 2002. Two sites “Bordj d'Ungha” and “El Hofra” differing by their degree of cadmium contamination were chosen in the Gulf of Gabès area (Tunisia). Annual mean concentrations of Cd in the whole soft tissues of clams from the site El Hofra were more than 4 times higher than those from the site Bordj d'Ungha (reference site). The gametogenic cycle of the clam R. decussatus was also investigated by histological examination and monthly observations of gonadal sections in a population of clams from both sites. The results show that gametogenesis occurred from March to December in clams from both sites. Nevertheless, spawning and emission of gametes were synchronized in both sexes from only the clams of the reference site. Although this species is considered as gonochoristic, 6.6% of hermaphroditic cases were observed in clams from both sites in which gametes of both males and females were in ripe stage. Moreover, the period of ripening of sexual products led to an increase of condition index and to a decrease of Cd concentrations in the whole soft tissues of clams from both sites, hence reflecting the phenomenon of “biological dilution”.

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