Reproductive features and gonad development cycle of the soft bottom-gravel gorgonian leptogorgia sarmentosa (esper, 1791) in the nw mediterranean sea

Sergio Rossi, Josep maría Gili

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18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Leptogorgia sarmentosa (Cnidaria: Octocorallia) is a common soft bottom-gravel gorgonian in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. This study examined the annual reproductive cycle of a L. sarmentosa. population at a depth of 30 m, and further determined the sex ratio, the intra-colonial gonadal output variability and the age at first reproduction. L. sarmentosa was gonochoric and the population studied was characterized by a sex ratio slightly biased towards female colonies (1 male:1.6 female). Secondary branches had higher polyp fertility (number of gonads per polyp) compared to primary branches, but because of the number of polyps on the former, most of the sexual effort was actually contributed by the primary branches, as in other gorgonian species. Male colonies became fertile above a height of 21 cm, but female colonies had gonads even in the 1–10 cm height class. Spawning occurred between late August and early September, although there was no direct observation of broadcast spawning or surface brooder strategy. The maximum gonad size was 550 μm in males and 500 μm in females, with a mean diameter of 270 μm for spermaries, and 190 μm for eggs. The number of gonads per polyp prior to spawning reached 4–5 spermaries polyp!1 in male colonies, and 3–4 eggs polyp!1 in female colonies. Spawning did not appear to be synchronized with the full moon. L. sarmentosa appeared to have a different reproductive strategy to other Mediterranean gorgonians (living on hard bottom substrata), probably because of its different habitat preferences and biological (morphology, diet, prey capture rates, growth, biochemical levels) features. © 2009 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-190
JournalInvertebrate Reproduction and Development
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Gametogenic cycle
  • Gorgonians
  • Reproductive output
  • Sex ratio
  • Soft bottom-gravel

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