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Reproductive biology of three congeneric sea cucumber species, Holothuria atra, H. impatiens and H. edulis, at Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef


Reproductive biology of three congeneric sea cucumber species, Holothuria atra, H. impatiens and H. edulis, at Heron Reef, Great Barrier Reef



Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 361: 51-57



DOI: 10.1071/mf9850051

Three Holothuria spp. at Heron Reef showed considerable variation in reproductive seasonality, magnitude of gonad index, egg size and numbers, and frequency of asexual reproduction by transverse binary fission. H. atra from the shallow lagoon spawned biannually (in summer and winter), females produced a large number of small ova, and asexual reproduction was frequent. H. impatiens from the reef flat spawned annually in late spring or summer, with females producing a small number of large ova; signs of asexual reproduction were never observed. H. edulis from the deep lagoon showed no annual reproductive pattern, produced an intermediate size and number of eggs, and reproduced asexually moderately frequently. Preliminary results indicated that reproductive maturation and magnitude of gonad index might vary between sites for H. atra. There was little temporal overlap in spawning by the 3 spp. at the sites sampled, and this may be a factor in the maintenance of their genetic isolation.

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Accession: 021675936

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