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Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 875–887 | Cite as

Reproductive development of the barnacle Chthamalus malayensis in Hong Kong: implications for the life-history patterns of barnacles on seasonal, tropical shores

  • Yan Yan
  • Benny K. K. Chan
  • Gray A. Williams
Research Article

Abstract

Hong Kong, lying just below the Tropic of Cancer (22°17′N, 114°09′E), experiences a strongly seasonal environment, with a cool almost temperate winter and a hot, tropical, summer. Histological sectioning of the gonads of the high-shore barnacle, Chthamalus malayensis Pilsbry, showed a seasonal trend in the development of its reproductive organs. Four stages of female gonad development were identified according to the cell types present: post-spawning, resting, growth and mature stages. The female gonad was mature from April to November, which was related to seawater temperatures, and entered a resting phase from December to March. Although the male gonad showed a seasonal developmental trend and reached maximum maturity in summer, the seminal vesicles were full of spermatozoa and functional throughout the year. The reproductive season of this species is therefore solely dependant upon the maturity of the female gonad. The estimated maximum number of broods per year was up to 10 and the maximum number of eggs produced per brood can reach 3,000 eggs. The minimum size for female gonad maturity was 6 mm rostro-carinal diameter (RCD) at which size, the barnacles were ~6-month old. Sperm production occurred at a smaller size (2 mm=2-month old). Compared with Chthamalus montagui and Chthamalus stellatus from temperate regions, C. malayensis produced a greater number of broods per year, had a longer reproductive period and faster gonad development. Chthamaloid barnacles in tropical regions may, therefore, invest more energy per year in reproduction during their life span. Contrary to the seasonal gonad developmental pattern of C. malayensis in the present study, however, C. malayensis in Singapore (which experiences only slight seasonal variation) had mature female and male gonads throughout the year, further supporting the strong role of climatic conditions effecting the reproductive biology of barnacles.

Keywords

Seminal Vesicle Seawater Temperature Tidal Level Female Gonad Male Gonad 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Mr. H.I. Leung (histological sectioning unit, HKU) and Dr Priscilla T.Y. Leung (Department Ecology and Biodiversity, HKU) for helping with the histological sectioning. Thanks to Dr Kenneth M.Y. Leung (HKU) for his constructive advice in statistical analysis, Dr Ruth O’Riordan (The National University of Singapore) and the Hard Rock Ecology Group, Department of Ecology & Biodiversity, HKU for constructive comments on the manuscript. This study was funded by a University of Hong Kong studentship to Y.Y. Permission to work at the Cape d’Aguilar Marine Reserve was granted by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, The Hong Kong Government.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Yan
    • 1
  • Benny K. K. Chan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gray A. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology & BiodiversityThe Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.Research Centre for BiodiversityTaiwanChina

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