Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Shellfish Research
Growth, onset of sexual maturity, and sexual reversal in laboratory-reared Busycon carica have been examined. Animals first matured at 9 years of age. The first sign of maturity in all animals we reared was the presence of the penis. At 12.4 years of age, one of the animals laid an egg case that did not contain embryos. This animal, and all others, still retained a penis. At 13.5 years, three egg cases were laid and over half the animals had undergone sex reversal (loss of the penis). Field studies have shown that egg strings are laid in the fall on tidal and intertidal flats and over winter to hatch in the spring. Organisms that require a relatively long time to mature, that lay few eggs per spawning season, and that are vulnerable for a long time are difficult to manage for a sustained yield fishery.
Busycon carica, whelk, age, growth, sex reversal, sexual dimorphism, fecundity
Castagna, Micheal and Kraeuter, John H., Age, growth rate, sexual dimorphism and fecundity of knobbed whelk Busycon carica (Gmelin, 1791) in a western mid-Atlantic lagoon system, Virginia (1994). Journal of Shellfish Research, 13(2), 581-585.