Friday, June 11, 2010

Mussel Mania Part 3 - Glochidia

Glochidia size compared to a dime.
Well, last time I wrote about seeing seeing the mussels releasing their larvae (called a spat). You can read about it at Mussel Mania Part 2. Anyway, at the time, I gathered up a net and some containers and scooped up some of the conglutinate masses to verify that these masses actually contained glochidia. As soon as I got back into the office, I went to the lab where we have a microscope with a camera attachment, and sure enough, the masses were filled with glochidia. Most of them looked like spheres but some of them which were opened looked like little pacmen. The glochidia are only .05mm in length. Not hardly visible with the naked eye. If these glochidia (well, not the ones I collected) are lucky enough to find a suitable host and attach to the gills, they will actually grow to twice their length (about .4mm which still isn't that large) before falling off and beginning their life as free living mussels. That is, if all goes well.

Glochidia clusters, open glochidia

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