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Free Content Sexual Reproductive Modes in Polychaetes: Classification and Diversity

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A two-factor classification system for types of reproductive modes within the Polychaeta is described. The classification is based on the type of larval development and the fate of the female gametes (free-spawned or brooded in a variety of ways). A compilation of information from the literature allowed the classification of 306 species. The Orders Phyllodocida and Spionida show the greatest diversity of reproductive modes. The most common reproductive mode involves the free spawning of gametes and the development of planktotrophic larvae. It is apparent that there has been multiple evolution of many reproductive modes during the course of polychaete evolution. This plasticity is argued to exceed that of the Classes Gastropoda, Bivalvia and Malacostraca.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1991

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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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