Release of eggs from tentacles in a Caribbean coral
KeywordsFertilization Rate Reproductive Strategy Coral Species Scleractinian Coral Fertilization Success
The release of planulae or embryos through a polyp’s tentacles has been described for several Caribbean coral species with internal fertilization (“brooders”): Eusmilia fastigiata (de Graaf et al. 1999), Favia fragum and Siderastrea radians (Duerden 1902), but to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time such behavior has been observed for a broadcasting scleractinian species.
The strategy described here could increase fertilization success by using “open” tentacles rather than a polyp’s mouth to maximize the number of eggs that can be fertilized simultaneously. High fertilization rates upon release (Hagman et al. 1998) suggest that females only release their eggs once fertilization has occurred. Intratentacular fertilization in the synchronous release of fertilized eggs by a single coral represents a previously undescribed reproductive strategy for Caribbean scleractinian corals.
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