Larval reproduction in the ctenophore Mnemiopsis mccradyi (order Lobata)
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Dissogony was observed in normal and experimentally manipulated individuals of Mnemiopsis mccradyi in February–April, 1985. The normal oral-aboral length at which sexual reproduction begins in M. mccradyi is 30±5 mm; however, some larvae, of 1.5 to 2.8 mm (oralaboral length), produce viable gametes. During the present study, not all individuals from a particular spawning which were kept in the same conditions became reproductive at an early age. The age at which larval reproduction began varied between individuals. The length of time over which individuals spawned varied considerably — some spawned only once, while others spawned repeatedly. Only the gonads located under the adesophageal ctene rows (and not those associated with the adtentacular rows) produced gametes during the early reproductive period. After larvae stopped spawning, the gonads regressed and the larvae grew to large lobate stages. Individuals which became sexually reproductive as larvae also became sexually reproductive during lobate stages.
KeywordsSexual Reproduction Reproductive Period Viable Gamete Early Reproductive Period Lobate Stage
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