Tridacnid clams are simultaneous hermaphrodites (i.e. they possess functional sets of both male and female gonads) and reach full sexual maturity after about 5-7 years. The age of maturation is different for each species 0 ieslinga, et al,, 1990). Some clams can become sexually mature as males within two years and then gradually acquire female gonads as they mature further (Lucas, 1988). Although clams possess both male and female sex organs at maturity, the release of sperm and eggs are separate events. This tends to prevent self-fertilization. Generally, the sperm are released into ihe water first, followed shortly thereafter by the eggs. Self-fertilization, and cross-fertilization between different species can occur (Alcazar, 1988). Hybrids can lie formed that exhibit characteristics of both species. Known and suspected hybrids include Hippopus hippopus x H. porcellanus (Alcazar, 1988), T. maxima x T. crocea» T derasa x 7. gigas, and T maxima x T. squamosa ( J. Sprung pens, obs.; G. Heslinga, pers. comm.)
Breeding may occur throughout the year at lower latitudes, but it appears that each species of tridacnid may have its own breeding season at higher latitudes (Fitt and Trench, 1981; Lucas, 1988). Tridacna maxima and T squamosa spawn during the winter months, T. derma in the spring, T. crocea and H. hippopus in the summer, and T gigas in the foil (Fitt and Trench, 1981) (no data available for 71 temroaX
The release of sperm can be triggered by a number of
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