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Free Content Nature of the Metamorphic Signal and its Internal Transduction in Larvae of the Nudibranch Phestilla Sibogae

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The veliger larvae of the coral-eating nudibranch mollusc Phestilla sibogae have provided an excellent model for the study of chemical-induction of metamorphosis. They metamorphose only in response to a water-soluble metabolite that escapes from the coral prey of the adult nudibranchs. Metamorphosis, occurring 18–20 h after larvae are exposed to coral, is decisive: larvae attach to a substratum, shed their velar-swimming organs, shell and operculum, and undergo major morphological reorganization. Extraction and HPLC purification of the coral product show it to be a small (<500 MW), polar, water-soluble molecule that is probably effective in inducing metamorphosis at concentrations of 10–10 M or less. The rapidness and cascade nature of metamorphic induction, coupled with the partial or complete inductive action of potassium ions, choline and epinephrine, point to the larval nervous system in the detection of the coral product and the internal mediation of metamorphosis. Problems associated with the isolation and concentration of the coral inducer hamper investigations of the larval receptor and its mode of action.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1990

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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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