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Morphogenesis during asexual reproduction in Pygospio elegans Claparède (Annelida, Polychaeta)
Gibson, G.; Harvey, J.M.L. (2000). Morphogenesis during asexual reproduction in Pygospio elegans Claparède (Annelida, Polychaeta). Biol. Bull. 199: 41-49
In: Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster. ISSN 0006-3185, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Gibson, G.
  • Harvey, J.M.L.

    The spionid Pygospio elegans reproduces both asexually and sexually. Using scanning electron and bright field microscopy, we examined morphogenesis following asexual reproduction to determine how “lost” body regions were regenerated after a worm spontaneously divided. Asexual reproduction occurred through transverse fission and divided the parent worm into 2 to 6 fragments (architomy). All fragments retained their original anterior-posterior polarity. Regeneration in all fragments followed a specific series of events: wound healing (day 1); extension of the blastema to generate lost body regions—specifically, the head and thorax for posterior fragments and the tail and pygidium for anterior fragments (days 2-3); segmentation (days 3-6); and differentiation of segment- or region-specific structures (days 4-8). This pattern occurred regardless of where the original division took place. Subsequent growth occurred through addition of terminal setigers anterior to the pygidium followed by differentiation of tail setigers into abdominal setigers, leaving the tail region about 6 to 10 setigers in size. Division rates were compared in worms from three populations in Nova Scotia, Canada. Worms from two populations (Conrad’s Beach, Starr’s Point) divided more frequently (about 1.2 and 1.3 weeks between divisions, respectively) than worms from Bon Portage Island (3.5 weeks between divisions). Fragments containing the original head (original mouth intact, generally much larger fragment) had a higher survivorship than fragments containing the original tail.

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