The Widely-Distributed Indo-Pacific Zoanthid Palythoa Tuberculosa: A Sexually Conservative Strategist
Abstract:Here we characterize the reproductive strategy of Palythoa tuberculosa (Esper, 1791) in the northern Gulf of Aqaba. Polyp sampling revealed that P. tuberculosa is a protandrous hermaphrodite over its life cycle, but has an annual protogynous hermaphroditic cycle. Fecundity was highest in the center of the colonies, with a mean (± SD) of 1196 ± 629 oocytes polyp–1. Spawning coincided with a rise in seawater temperature, and occurred on the first week after full moon each month (June–August). Gamete release and fertilization success peaked 2 d after full moon. Larvae developed into zoanthellae 13 d post-fertilization. High fecundity and long larval developmental periods suggest high investment in sexual reproduction. Nonetheless, a low recruitment was noted on the reef. Palythoa tuberculosa appears to maintain its complex reproductive strategy throughout its wide geographic distribution.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2011
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