, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 205-212

Aspects of the reproduction and life cycle of Rhabdopleura compacta (Hemichordata)

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Rhabdopleura compacta Hincks is shown to be monoecious. It is suggested that the ovum is ovulated and extruded into the lumen of the coenecium via a temporary opening at the base of the metasome, and that the oviduct itself may serve only as a way for sperm to fertilise the ova internally. The zooids degenerate when reproducing sexually and when conditions are unfavourable. The larva and initial stages of astogeny are described. Some observations on seasonal variation in the colonies indicate that the dormant buds serve for storage of nutrients. Reproduction seems to occur throughout the year, but most actively in spring. Relationships with Cephalodiscus and the Bryozoa are briefly discussed.

Communicated by J. E. Smith, Plymouth.