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Observations on the reproduction and postlarval morphology of pourtalesiid sea urchins in the Rockall Trough area (N.E. Atlantic Ocean)

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Gametogenesis was studied histologically in the deep-sea species Pourtalesia jeffreysi (Wyville Thomson), P. miranda (A. Agassiz) and Echinosigra phiale (Wyville Thomson) collected during 1973–1983 from various positions at depths of 1 040 to 2 921 m in the Rockall Trough. The gonads are small and no synchrony in terms of the stage of gametogenic development was evident in females of the latter two species collected at different times of the year, indicating nonseasonal breeding. Males appear to be ripe at all times of the year. Follicle cells were well developed around the developing oocytes. Both the size range of the yolky ripe eggs (173 to 357 μm diam) and potential fecundity within the range of 1 000 to ∼ 4 000 oocytes per individual, are indicative of an abbreviated, indirect, lecithotrophic mode of development occurring in all three species. Pourtalesiid postlarvae occurred also in fine-meshed trawl hauls, and their morphology is described. It was not possible to distinguish between P. miranda and E. phiale at sizes <3 mm in length.

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Communicated by J. Mauchline, Oban

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Harvey, R., Gage, J.D. Observations on the reproduction and postlarval morphology of pourtalesiid sea urchins in the Rockall Trough area (N.E. Atlantic Ocean). Mar. Biol. 82, 181–190 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00394101

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  • Size Range
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Follicle Cell
  • Nonseasonal Breeding
  • Potential Fecundity