Sexual Cycle of Three Commercially Important Holothurian Species (Echinodermata) from the Lagoon of New Caledonia
The population and reproductive biology of three commercially important holothurian species, Thelenota ananas, Microthele nobilis and Microthele fuscogilva, were studied from the lagoon near Noumea, New Caledonia. Samples were taken at approximate monthly intervals by free or scuba diving at certain set points. By examining the morphology and microscopic anatomy of the gonads, a five-stage maturity scale was defined. Simultaneous observation of variations of the gonad index, percentages of different maturity stages and individuals of undetermined sex, made it possible to define the reproductive cycle of these species. The time of gonad growth, maturation, spawning, post-spawning and resting have been related to the annual sea temperature cycle. Thelenola ananas and Microthele fuscogilva reproduce in the warm season, whereas M. nobilis reproduces during the cold season. The fecundity of M. nobilis is higher than that of the other two species. The length and weight at first sexual maturity have been defined.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1981-07-01
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