Modiolarca lateralis (Pteryomorphia: Mytilidae): bivalve associated to six species of ascidians from Bocas del Toro, Panama
We describe the presence of the bivalve Modiolarca lateralis (Say, 1822) in six tropical ascidians Ascidia curvata, A. sydneiensis, A. panamensis, A. interrupta, Herdmania pallida and Polycarpa spongiabilis collected at depths of 1-3 m on coral reefs, mangrove roots and dock supports in Almirante Bay, Bocas del Toro, Panama (9°18'N, 82°13'W) during June-July 2011. Bivalve prevalence varied between 9-30% across species, but was mainly associated with A. panamensis, P. spongiabilis and A. interrupta. Prevalence seems to be influenced by tunic thickness rather than by the ascidian size. Bivalves varied in size (0.6-11 mm shell length), with the smallest individual found in A. sydneiensis. There were only one or two bivalves per ascidians, although a maximum of 18 was found in one A. panamensis. M. lateralis seems to behave similarly to its temperate counterparts: it has a variety of hosts, occurs mainly in the anterior region of the ascidians, and has a variable abundance per host.