The present study analyzed growth and longevity of the endemic cave dwelling bivalve Congeria kusceri obtained from the pit Jama u Predolcu, Croatia. A water temperature of 13–14°C constituted the lower limit for shell growth of C. kusceri. Obtained data also indicated that enhanced calcium uptake by C. kusceri during its summer growth and reproductive phases coincided with a decrease in alkalinity of the pit water. An analysis of shell growth rings in C. kusceri has identified an impressive longevity of 53 years. Calculations of growth rate suggested maximum theoretical shell lengths (L∞) of 16.7 mm for males and 18.7 mm for females and a growth constant of 0.04 year-1 for both sexes. Congeria kusceri can, however, grow to a shell length of > 24 mm, suggesting that longevity of this species could be greater than that identified in this study. The obtained results add to our understanding of how colonisation and continued and successful occupation of a subterranean freshwater habitat has been achieved.
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Vol. 57 • No. 2