Coral Reefs

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 159-164

First online:

Sexual reproduction and early development of the solitary coral Fungia scutaria (Anthozoa: Scleractinia)

  • David A. KruppAffiliated withHawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Fungia scutaria spawned vigorously with a lunar beriodicity during the summer months of 1981 and 1982. Spawning activity declined in the fall of both years and was absent in winter and spring (1983). There was only one short spawning event per lunar cycle. Each event occurred in the evening between 1700 and 1900 hours 1 to 4 days following the full moon. Fungia scutaria exhibits gonochorism. Females ejected eggs through their mouths into the seawater above. Many of these negatively buoyant eggs settled onto the oral discs and were moved off the edge by ciliary-mucoid activity. Spermatoza from males were similarly expelled in a jet of gastrovascular fluid. Spawned eggs were small and lacked endosymbiotic zooxanthellae. Rapid development led to ciliated solid planulae by the next morning. Within 24 h a mouth had begun to develop. Planulae may have been able to feed within 39 h. Infection with zooxanthellae occurred 4–5 days following spawning. Planulae may have become competent for settlement by 7 days, but attempts to docment settlement produced ambiguous results.