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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 519510, 10 pages
Research Article

Covarying Shell Growth Parameters and the Regulation of Shell Shape in Marine Bivalves: A Case Study on Tellinoidea

1Société d’Histoire Naturelle, 12 rue des Pyrénées, 71200 Le Creusot, France
2Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 21000 Dijon, France

Received 12 February 2014; Revised 25 April 2014; Accepted 4 May 2014; Published 29 May 2014

Academic Editor: Ricardo Serrão Santos

Copyright © 2014 Jean Béguinot. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Specific parameters characterising shell shape may arguably have a significant role in the adaptation of bivalve molluscs to their particular environments. Yet, such functionally relevant shape parameters (shell outline elongation, dissymmetry, and ventral convexity) are not those parameters that the animal may directly control. Rather than shell shape, the animal regulates shell growth. Accordingly, an alternative, growth-based description of shell-shape is best fitted to understand how the animal may control the achieved shell shape. The key point is, in practice, to bring out the link between those two alternative modes of shell-shape descriptions, that is, to derive the set of equations which connects the growth-based shell-shape parameters to the functionally relevant shell-shape parameters. Thus, a preliminary object of this note is to derive this set of equations as a tool for further investigations. A second object of this work is to provide an illustrative example of implementation of this tool. I report on an unexpected negative covariance between growth-based parameters and show how this covariance results in a severe limitation of the range of interspecific variability of the degree of ventral convexity of the shell outline within the superfamily Tellinoidea. Hypotheses are proposed regarding the constraints possibly at the origin of this limitation of interspecific variability.