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Reproduction in Amphiura filiformis (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea): Seasonality in gonad development

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The burrowing ophiuroid Amphiura filiformis (O. F. Müller) (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) colonises an extensive area and is a numerically dominant member of the macrofauna in Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland. There, it has a discrete, relatively short annual breeding period, from June to September, with peak activity in the month of August. The breeding period approximates in timing those of other European populations. The oocytes of a particular year are laid down in the autumn of the previous year; they begin to develop in spring, with the period of fastest growth in May/June. Gonad growth corresponds quite closely to the annual rise in water temperature, with spawning taking place during the warmest months of the year. The species is polytelic, and it is suggested that the long-lived Galway Bay individuals may breed every year for several years. The relationship between spawning and population dynamics is discussed in the light of current, available literature concerning A. filiformis from other parts of Europe. The role of so-called “ultimate factors” in the process of ophiuroid maturation and spawning is discussed.

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Communicated by J. Mauchline, Oban

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Bowner, T. Reproduction in Amphiura filiformis (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea): Seasonality in gonad development. Mar. Biol. 69, 281–290 (1982).

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  • Europe
  • Water Temperature
  • Population Dynamic
  • West Coast
  • Fast Growth