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Sexual reproduction of the solitary sunset cup coral Leptopsammia pruvoti (Scleractinia, Dendrophylliidae) in the Mediterranean. 2. Quantitative aspects of the annual reproductive cycle
Goffredo, S.; Airi, V.; Radetic, J.; Zaccanti, F. (2006). Sexual reproduction of the solitary sunset cup coral Leptopsammia pruvoti (Scleractinia, Dendrophylliidae) in the Mediterranean. 2. Quantitative aspects of the annual reproductive cycle. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 148: 923-931. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-005-0137-8
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Goffredo, S.
  • Airi, V.
  • Radetic, J.
  • Zaccanti, F.

Abstract
    There are few data on the reproductive biology of coral species living in temperate zones, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea. Leptopsammia pruvoti is a solitary coral that is commonly found in sea caves and under overhangs throughout the Mediterranean basin and along European coasts from Portugal to southern England. In this paper, we describe its annual reproductive cycle in the eastern Ligurian Sea near the city of Leghorn (Tuscany, Italy). Polyps were sexually mature at 3 mm in length (maximum diameter of the oral disc), were dioecious with a sex ratio of 1:1, and brooded their larvae. The maturation of spermaries took 12 months and oocytes 24 months. The rate of gonad development increased significantly from November to January, fertilization occurred from January to April and planulation during May and June. Seasonal variations in water temperature and photoperiod may have played an important role in regulating reproductive events. The amount of energy devoted to male gametogenesis (quantified by gonad index) was significantly higher in the sex separated species L. pruvoti than in the hermaphroditic dendrophylliid Balanophyllia europaea, whose reproduction has been studied in a previous work. We hypothesize that this difference is due to the contrasting sexuality or fertilization biology of these two species (cross-fertilization in the sex separated L. pruvoti versus possibly self-fertilization in the hermaphroditic B. europaea). Greater male sexual allocation in reproductive strategies characterized by dioecism or cross-fertilization when compared to those characterized by hermaphroditism or self-fertilization is common in plant mating systems. In relation to other solitary dendrophylliids, L. pruvoti presents an ‘r’-reproductive strategy.

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