The mussel Choromytilus chorus (Molina, 1782) is a commercially and ecologically important bivalve, which is extensively distributed along the Chilean coast (20°S–54°S). However, there are no previous studies regarding the reproductive aspects of this species in the northern part of its range. Mussels were collected at Caleta Errázuriz, along the Antofagasta coast (ca. 24°S), between December 2014 and June 2015. A total of 1620 individuals were examined using histological techniques and macroscopic visual inspection. Seventeen size categories, which included individuals from 5 mm to 100 mm in length, were analyzed. The size at the onset of sexual differentiation and the size at first sexual maturity (50% mature individuals) were determined. Males comprised 49% of the total sample, and 51% were females. Mussels from 5–22 mm in valve length were undifferentiated and from 22–24 mm were sexually differentiated. The size at first sexual maturity was recorded as 38–40 mm. In vitro fertilization trials demonstrated that sexually differentiated individuals were able to produce viable gametes. The biological parameters analyzed for C. chorus were similar to those recorded for populations of this bivalve from the southern latitudes. However, the lower number of eggs per female and the smaller egg size suggests that the population parameters may be different for C. chorus between the northern and southern latitudes.
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Vol. 35 • No. 1