, Volume 145, Issue 3, pp 541-549
Date: 13 Mar 2004

Reproductive strategies of two deep-sea gastropod species from the Porcupine Seabight (Northeast Atlantic)

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Abstract

Two species of small gastropods (<6 mm in length), Amphissa acutecostata (Philippi, 1844) and Gymnobela subaraneosa (Dautzenberg and Fischer, 1896), widely distributed in the northeast Atlantic, were found in large numbers in the Porcupine Seabight (Northeast Atlantic). Except for some aspects of taxonomy and distribution, as well as some data on larval development, the biology of these species is unknown. This study describes basic aspects of the life-history strategies of both species. Histological studies showed that oocyte and sperm development in both species was similar to the gametogenetic patterns observed in other deep-sea gastropods. In females, oogonia proliferated in the germinal epithelium and developed into previtellogenic oocytes (30–40 μm), which grew into vitellogenic primary oocytes. Vitellogenic oocytes were covered by a thin layer of follicle cells involved in the vitellogenic processes. The maximum size for mature oocytes was 99.06 μm for A. acutecostata and 114.82 μm for G. subaraneosa. In A. acutecostata most of the volume of the ovary was occupied by previtellogenic and early vitellogenic oocytes, whereas in G. subaraneosa most of the volume was filled by large vitellogenic oocytes. Both species showed quasi-continuous production of oocytes. The oocyte size-frequency diagrams suggested a continuous release of a small number of oocytes throughout the year for A. acutecostata, and asynchronous periodic spawning events for G. subaraneosa. Gonad development and gametogenesis could be strongly affected by presence of parasites in one of the populations of G. subaraneosa.

Communicated by J.P. Thorpe, Port Erin