Fecundity, oogenesis, and ovulation pattern of southern African Lycoteuthis lorigera (Steenstrup, 1875)
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Lycoteuthis lorigera is among the most abundant mesopelagic squid on the continental slope of the south Atlantic. It is the dominant prey in some commercially harvested groundfish. Despite its abundance and importance in the mesopelagic foodweb, its general biology is poorly known. In this study, the spawning pattern and fecundity of L. lorigera from southern African waters were investigated. Both histological examination and length frequency analysis of ovaries in various stages of development revealed that the ovulation pattern of L. lorigera is asynchronous, which indicates a spawning strategy where batches of eggs are spawned repeatedly over time. More specifically, ovulation is group synchronous, where distinct batches of 1,200–2,400 eggs ripen in the ovary and accumulate in the oviducts. The potential fecundity was estimated to be 20,000–50,000 in immature females (n = 6) and 8,000–25,000 in mature females (n = 21). The number of ripe eggs in the oviducts suggests that batches of spawned egg masses contain between 1,000 and 4,000 eggs. The reproductive strategy of L. lorigera is discussed and compared to the reproductive strategies of oceanic squid inhabiting the continental slope of southern Africa.
KeywordsCephalopoda Spawning Reproduction Mesopelagic South Africa Lycoteuthis lorigera
We thank The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and the Royal Dutch Academy of Science (KNAW). Dr. D. Haydar is thanked for producing Fig. 1.
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