, Volume 114, Issue 4, pp 633-643

Ultrastructure of the ovary and oogenesis in the jellyfish Linuche unguiculata and Stomolophus meleagris, with a review of ovarian structure in the Scyphozoa

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Abstract

Ovarian structure and oogenesis has been examined in six scyphozoan species including the semaeostome Diplumularis antarctica Maas, 1908 (collected in 1987 in McMurdo Sound, Antarctic), the rhizostomes Cassiopea xamachana Bigelow, 1892 (collected in Belize in 1988), and Stomolophus meleagris L. Agassiz, 1862 (collected in Ft. Pierce Inlet in 1988), and the coronates Periphylla periphylla (Peron and Lesueur, 1810), Nausithoe atlantica Broch, 1914 (both collected in the Bahamas in 1988), and Linuche unguiculata (Schwartz, 1788) (collected in Nassau Harbor, Bahama Islands in 1989). Based on these findings and information on five other scyphozoan species from additional literature sources, at least two fundamentally different types of ovaries exist in the Scyphozoa. In semaeosotome and rhizostome species, oocytes develop in close association with specialized gastrodermal cells called trophocytes which may serve a nutritive function. However, coronate species lack trophocytes and oocytes develop freely in the mesoglea. The ovaries of S. meleagris and L. unguiculata are used as models to represent the ultrastructural events occurring during oogenesis in species having trophocytes and those lacking them, respectively. In both L. unguiculata and S. meleagris, the ovaries arise as evaginations of the gastrodermis in the floor of interradial pouches. Germ cells appear to originate from endodermally-derived gastrodermal cells and migrate into the mesoglea prior to vitellogenesis. In L. unguiculata, the oocytes develop freely within the mesoglea throughout vitellogenesis, while in S. meleagris each oocyte maintains contact with specialized gastrodermal cells called trophocytes. In the vitellogenic oocytes of both species, numerous invaginations of the oolemma result in the formation of intraooplasmic channels throughout the ooplasm. These channels are intimately associated with cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum and may play some role in yolk precursor uptake by substantially increasing the surface area of the oocyte. Vitellogenesis is similar in both species and involves the autosynthetic activity of the Golge complex and rough endoplasmic reticulum, and the heterosynthetic incorporation of yolk precursors through receptor-mediated endocytosis. However, in the oocytes of S. meleagris, the trophocytes probably play a role in the transfer of nutrients from the gastrovascular cavity to the oocyte. The present study suggests that scyphozoans were among the first metazoans to develop ovarian accessory cells during their reproductive evolution. The trophocyte-oocyte association observed in some scyphozoans is similar to but structurally less complex than the trophonema-oocyte association described from anthozoans. Scyphozoan ovarian morphology helps support the view that the Scyphozoa share a closer phylogenetic relationship with the Anthozoa than with the Hydrozoa.

Communicated by J. Grassle, New Brunswick