, Volume 131, Issue 3, pp 423-432

Reproduction in Anthelia glauca (Octocorallia: Xeniidae). I. Gametogenesis and larval brooding

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Anthelia glauca Lamarck, 1816 is a gonochoric, external-brooding soft coral found in KwaZulu-Natal. It is reproductively active in the summer months. The development of gametes produced in late summer is arrested in winter. Several stages of gametes are found at the base of the polyps, and female polyps produce several cycles of larvae over an extended breeding period of 4 to 5 months. Larvae are brooded in a unique pharyngeal brooding pouch not yet described in other coral species. The brood pouch consists of an expansion of the pharynx with constrictions proximal and distal to the embryos and larvae. Our data suggest that egg transfer and fertilization occur at full moon and the mature larvae are released after new moon. Zooxanthellae are absent in A. glauca oocytes, but zooxanthella infestation commences at the immature larval stage.

Received: 15 July 1997 / Accepted: 12 March 1998