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