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Coral Reefs

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 143–147 | Cite as

Spermatozoan ultrastructure of scleractinian corals from the eastern Pacific: Pocilloporidae and Agariciidae

  • S. C. C. Steiner
  • J. Cortés
Reports

Abstract

Spermatozoa ofPocillopora damicornis, Pocillopora elegans (Astrocoeniina, Pocilloporidae) andPavona gigantea (Fungiina, Agariciidae) from the eastern Pacific (Isla del Caño, Costa Rica) were examined using transmission electron microscopy. The hermaphroditic pocilloporidsP. damicornis andP. elegans are spermiomorphologically very similar to hermaphroditic acroporids, being characterized by bullet-shaped nuclei and elongated mitochondria. Such traits have not been found in other families. Thus, the suborder Astrocoeniina, including pocilloporids and acroporids, can clearly be distinguished from other scleractinian suborders. This separation underlines the isolated position of the Astrocoeniina within the order Scleractinia following the evolutionary scheme of Wells. A conical sperm type, known from gonochoric species (sexes separate) from all families except Acroporidae and Pocilloporidae, was found in the gonochoric agariciidPavona gigantea. This supports previous findings that gonochoric corals share a unique and common sperm structure regardless of which family they belong to. However, no gonochoric Astrocoeniina have ever been examined. Hence, the question whether the sperm type common to gonochorists is also represented in Astrocoeniina, which would undermine the ultrastructural distinction of Astrocoeniina and other suborders seen among hermaphrodites, as well as the systematic value of sperm structure within scleractinian corals, remains open.

Keywords

Microscopy Electron Microscopy Transmission Electron Microscopy Evolutionary Scheme Sedimentology 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. C. C. Steiner
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Cortés
    • 2
  1. 1.The School for Field StudiesCenter for Marine Resource Studies (South Caicos)Ft LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y LimnologiaUniversidad de Costa RicaSan PedroCosta Rica

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