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Free Content Synchronous mass spawning of Montastraea annularis (Ellis & Solander) and Montastraea faveolata (Ellis & Solander) (Faviidae: Scleractinia) at Rosario Islands, Caribbean coast of Colombia

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Montastraea annularis (Ellis & Solander, 1786) and Montastraea faveolata (Ellis & Solander, 1786), two hermaphrodite broadcasting species, are among the most important reef-building corals of the Caribbean. These species have recently been separated, but this separation has been questioned. Spawning of the two species was observed on the Caribbean coast of Colombia in 1997, 6 and 7 d after the full moons from August to October in M. faveolata and September to October in M. annularis. During three different nights in which mass spawning was observed, including the major event in September (approximately 90% of all colonies spawned), these species were synchronous and spawning started 2.5 h after sunset (40–50 min of time span). Additionally, the same spawning behavior was observed once on October 1998. Timing records of 17 colonies in 1998, during the birth stage, indicate that M. annularis colonies spawned longer (20:40–21:45) than M. faveolata (20:46–21:20). Previous observations and our findings suggest that there is a great predictability in the number of days after full moon and of hours after sunset (6–8 d, 2–4 h), which has been concordant in all the localities. The spawning length, whereas similar, has been variable (minutes to hours) among sites and years. A latent potential for hybridization between M. annularis and M. faveolata, as well as the variation in synchrony and time span, deserves additional investigation.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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