Reproductive biology of the black coral Antipathella wollastoni (Cnidaria: Antipatharia) in the Azores (NE Atlantic)
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AuthorsRakka, M. (Maria); Orejas, C. (Covadonga); Sampaio, I. (Iris); Monteiro, J. (Joao); Parra, H. (Hugo); Carreiro-Silva, M. (Marina)
Antipathella wollastoni is an antipatharian species common to Macaronesia, occurring in depths between 20 and 1425 m. Despite its importance as a habitat-forming species, there is no information about its basic biology. The aim of the current study is to describe its reproductive strategy, gametogenic cycle and reproductive timing. Sampling was performed monthly on six tagged colonies during one year and specimens were histologically processed. A. wollastoni was found to be a gonochoric broadcast spawner. Gametogenesis took place within the primary transversal mesenteries, and followed an annual cycle. The reproductive season coincided with an increase in seawater temperature but spawning, inferred from the disappearance of gametes, likely happened after the sea surface temperature peak of the year (September 2009). Polyp fecundity ranged from 1 to 309 oocytes/polyp. A decrease in polyp fecundity was detected in samples at the higher pre-spawning maturity stage, indicating possible ...
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