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Free Content Sexual reproduction of Favia fragum (Esper): lunar patterns of gametogenesis, embryogenesis and planulation in Puerto Rico

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Several brooding scleractinian coral species are known to release planulae at certain phases of the moon. This study of a brooding coral, Favia fragum, suspected of having a lunar cycle of planulation, had the objective of determining whether there was also a lunar periodicity in gametogenesis and embryogenesis. Histological examination of specimens collected at 2 to 4 day intervals over several lunar cycles revealed a lunar periodicity in the maturation of oocytes and a lunar cycle in spermatogenesis which ended with ovulation and presumably spawning of sperm about day 18 after the new moon. Embryos developed slowly, taking about 4 days to reach the planula stage. After brooding for about 3 weeks the mature planulae were expelled between days 6 and 15 after the new moon, with a peak on day 11. Under natural conditions, planulae were never retained past the end of the planulation period, which was followed closely by a new ovulation event. Therefore, the lunar periodicity in planulation is driven by a lunar cycle of gamete maturation and ovulation. The timing of this ovulation is about 4 to 5 days after the full moon, which is the same time many broadcasting corals are known to spawn.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 1985

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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