Increase in oxidative damage and decrease in cellular maintenance is often associated with aging, but, in marine ectotherms, both processes are also strongly influenced by somatic growth, maturation and reproduction. In this study, we used a single cohort of the short-lived catarina scallop Argopecten ventricosus, to investigate the effects of somatic growth, reproduction and aging on oxidative damage parameters (protein carbonyls, TBARS and lipofuscin) and cellular maintenance mechanisms (antioxidant activity and apoptosis) in scallops, caged in their natural environment. The concentrations of protein carbonyls and TBARS increased steeply during the early period of fast growth and during reproduction in one-year-old scallops. However, oxidative damage was transient, and apoptotic cell death played a pivotal role in eliminating damage in gill, mantle and muscle tissues of young scallops. Animals were able to reproduce again in the second year, but the reduced intensity of apoptosis impaired subsequent removal of damaged cells. In late survivors low antioxidant capacity and apoptotic activity together with a fast accumulation of the age pigment lipofuscin was observed. Rates of oxygen consumption and oxidative stress markers were strongly dependent on somatic growth and reproductive state but not on temperature. Compared to longer-lived bivalves, A. ventricosus seems more susceptible to oxidative stress with higher tissue-specific protein carbonyl levels and fast accumulation of lipofuscin in animals surviving the second spawning. Superoxide dismutase activity and apoptotic cell death intensity were however higher in this short-lived scallop than in longer-lived bivalves. The life strategy of this short-lived and intensely predated scallop supports rapid somatic growth and fitness as well as early maturation at young age at the cost of fast cellular degradation in second year scallops.