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HATCHERY

                Clams spawn by releasing male and female gametes into the water column.  Spawning is triggered by certain temperatures (about 72 degrees); this adaptation allows humans to induce spawning by temperature manipulation for commercial seed production.   Fertilization occurs in the water resulting in planktonic larvae. 

                Commercial brood stock is raised in hatcheries.  Since the cost is high and the techniques are fairly complex, most clammers depend on buying seed from  commercial producers.   Fertilized eggs and the resulting larvae are raised in large cylindrical tanks filled with filtered, sterilized seawater and fed cultured phytoplankton or microalgae for 10-14 days. These larvae develop through various stages, adding shell valves,  the umbo (the oldest part of the shell where the hinge is located) and the foot.

                At this stage, the clams begin to develop shells and settle on the bottom.  For 30 to 60 days they are kept in the hatchery, until they reach about ½ inch in size.

About four weeks later, the larvae settle on the bottom, attaching themselves to sand grains.  The siphons develop, the mantle (surrounding the internal organs) fuses and the shell begins to develop ridges. 

Clam seed on a fingerClam anatomy