Coral Reefs

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 324–332 | Cite as

Lunar periodicities of diadematid echinoids breeding in Fiji

  • Simon E. CoppardEmail author
  • Andrew C. Campbell


Gonad indices for two species of Diadema and two species of Echinothrix, including two color morphs of Echinothrix calamaris, are described for a 12-month period on Sosoikula Reef and Nukubuco Reef, Viti Levu, Fiji. Seasonal fluctuations in salinity (36.11±0.88 ppt) and water temperature (26.35±0.91°C) occurred. Gonad index data showed monthly reproductive rhythms, closely attuned to the lunar cycle. Diadema savignyi and Echinothrix diadema spawned on the full moon, and Diadema setosum and E. calamaris (white and brown color morphs) spawned on the new moon. Breeding periodicities coincided with the spring tides, thus maximizing chances of fertilization and dispersal. Such breeding cycles indicate how closely related species can co-exist with minimum risk of hybridization. Unusual sex ratios were found for all species, with an exceptionally low incidence of males. Reasons for this deviation from the typically reported 1:1 sex ratio may relate to the exceptionally high levels of tributyltin (TBT) recorded in Suva Harbor.


Sea urchins Diadema Echinothrix Coral reefs Gonad indices 



We would like to thank Peter Newell and Robin South for their assistance at the University of the South Pacific. We are grateful to Shirley Mohammed-Coppard for her help in collecting and dissecting specimens, John Pearse for his advice, and Maurice Elphick for his comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Queen MaryUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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