, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 279-284

Asexual production of planulae in the coral Pocillopora damicornis

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The reproduction of scleractinian corals through planular larvae has traditionally been viewed as a strictly sexual process. Here, the results of an electrophoretic study of a ubiquitous Indo-Pacific coral, Pocillopora damicornis, show an exact inheritance of parental genotypes by brooded planulae, demonstrating the existence of an asexual mode of production of planular larvae. Comparisons of the genetical structure of a number of populations with structures predicted for sexual reproduction suggest that, although there is probably also a sexual form of reproduction, asexually produced planulae can be of major importance in the maintenance of populations of this species.

Communicated by G. F. Humphrey, Sydney