The genus Sarcophyton is an abundant soft coral on the marginal, high-latitude reefs in KwaZulu-Natal. A 2-year study on reproduction in the most common species,S. glaucum, revealed that gametogenesis in male and female colonies takes 9–10 and 16–18 mo, respectively, in this gonochoric, seasonal, broadcast spawner. Gametogenesis and spawning are synchronised in and between colonies, and with other common soft corals on the reefs. Spawning occurs annually in March between full and new moon with the release of spermsacs and the mature oocytes, the smaller oocytes being retained for further development. Thus far, the reproductive attributes of S. glaucum are comparable with other studies on the genus. However, the KwaZulu-Natal population of S. glaucum manifested the unusual attribute of hermaphroditism in 9% of the colonies, these having Stage I and II spermaries and predominantly Stage III and IV oocytes in their polyps. Small numbers of Stage I and II oocytes indicated that such colonies may be simultaneous hermaphrodites but this could not be confirmed. The complex reproductive strategy and associated measure of hermaphroditism in S. glaucum on KwaZulu-Natal reefs are discussed in terms of the species’ recruitment success in this marginal, high-latitude environment.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
R.C. Babcock C.D. Bull P.I. Harrison A.J. Hayward J.K. Oliver C.C. Wallace B.L. Willis (1986) ArticleTitleSynchronous spawnings of 105 scleractinian coral species on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Biology 90 379–394 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF00428562
Benayahu, Y., 1993. Alcyonacea from Sodwana Bay, South Africa. In Schleyer, M. H. (ed.), Corals of the south west Indian Ocean. I. Alcyonacea from Sodwana Bay, South Africa. Investigational Report, Oceanographic Research Institute 68: 1–12.
Y. Benayahu (1997) ArticleTitleDevelopmental episodes in reef soft corals: ecological and cellular determinants Proceedings of the Eighth International Coral Reef Symposium 2 1213–1218
Y. Benayahu Y. Loya (1983) ArticleTitleSurface brooding in the Red Sea soft coral Parerythropodium fulvum fulvum (Forskal, 1775) Biological Bulletin 165 353–369
Y. Benayahu Y. Loya (1986) ArticleTitleSexual reproduction of a soft coral: synchronous and brief annual spawning of Sarcophyton glaucum (Quoy & Gaimard, 1833) Biological Bulletin 170 32–42
Y. Benayahu D. Weil M. Kleinman (1990) Radiation of broadcasting and brooding patterns in coral reef Alcyonaceans M. Hoshi O. Yamashita (Eds) Advances in Invertebrate Reproduction 5 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (Biomedical Division), Amsterdam Oxford, New York, Tokyo 323–328
D.B. Carlon (1999) ArticleTitleThe evolution of mating systems in tropical coral reefs Trends in Ecology and Evolution 14 491–495 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0169-5347(99)01709-7 Occurrence Handle10542461
L. Celliers M.H. Schleyer (2002) Coral bleaching on high latitude marginal reefs at Sodwana Bay, South Africa Marine Pollution Bulletin 44–180
R.A.B. Drury E.A. Wallington (1967) Carleton’s Histological Technique Oxford University Press New York, Toronto 1–433
K.E. Fabricius (1995) ArticleTitleSlow population turnover in the soft coral genera Sinularia and Sarcophyton on mid- and outer-shelf reefs on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Ecology Progress Series 126 145–152
K.E. Fabricius (1996) ArticleTitleEcosystem recovery after episodic disturbance: resilience of some coral reefs after Acanthaster outbreaks Senckenbergiana Maritima 27 227–235
K. Fabricius P. Alderslade (2001) Soft corals and sea fans: a comprehensive guide to the tropical shallow water genera of the central-west Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea Australian Institute of Marine Science Townsville
P.W. Glynn N.J. Gassman C.M. Eakin D.B. Smith H.M. Guzman (1991) ArticleTitleReef coral reproduction in the eastern Pacific Costa Rica, Panama, and Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) I. Pocilloporidae. Marine Biology 109 355–368 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF01313501
H.A.F. Gohar (1940) ArticleTitleStudies on the Xeniidae of the Red Sea Publications of the Marine Biological Station Ghardaqa 2 27–118
P.L. Harrison C.C. Wallace (1990) Reproduction, dispersal and recruitment of scleractinian corals Z. Dubinsky (Eds) Coral Reefs Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. Amsterdam 133–207
R.G. Hartnoll (1975) ArticleTitleThe annual cycle of Alcyonium digitatum Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 3 71–78
IUCN/UNEP, 1988. Coral reefs of the world. Volume 2: Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Gulf. UNEP Regional Seas Directories and Bibliographies. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge.
A. Kruger M.H. Schleyer (1998) ArticleTitleReproduction in Pocillopora verrucosa (Scleractinia, Pocilloporidae) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa Marine Biology 132 703–710 Occurrence Handle10.1007/s002270050434
A. Kruger M.H. Schleyer Y. Benayahu (1998) ArticleTitleReproduction in Anthelia glauca (Octocorallia, Xeniidae). I: Gametogenesis and coral breeding. Marine Biology 131 423–432 Occurrence Handle10.1007/s002270050335
C.S. MacFadden R. Donahue B.K. Hadland R. Weston (2001) ArticleTitleA molecular phylogenetic analysis of reproductive trait evolution in the soft coral genus Alcyonium Evolution 55 54–67
R. Mahoney (1966) Laboratory Techniques in Zoology Butterworths and Co. (Publishers) Ltd. London 1–404
P.J. Ramsay (1996) ArticleTitleQuaternary marine geology of the Sodwana Bay continental shelf, Northern KwaZulu-Natal Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Southern Africa 117 1–85
P.J. Ramsay T.R. Mason (1990) ArticleTitleDevelopment of a type zoning model for Zululand coral reefs, Sodwana Bay, South Africa Journal of Coastal Research 6 829–852
B. Riegl M.H. Schleyer P.J. Cook G.M. Branch (1995) ArticleTitleStructure of Africa’s southernmost coral communities Bulletin of Marine Science 56 676–691
M.H. Schleyer (2000) South African coral communities T. McClanahan C. Sheppard D. Obura (Eds) Coral Reefs of the Indian Ocean: Their Ecology and Conservation Oxford University Press New York 83–105
M.H. Schleyer L. Celliers (2003) ArticleTitleBiodiversity on the marginal coral reefs of South Africa: what does the future hold? Zoologische Verhandelingen Leiden 345 387–400
Schleyer, M. H., A. Kruger & Y. Benayahu, 1997. Reproductive strategies of South African corals. Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Coelenterate Biology: 429–435.
Schumann, E. H. & M. J. Orren, 1980. The physio-chemical characteristics of the south-west Indian ocean in relation to Maputoland. In Bruton, M. N., K. H. Cooper (eds), Studies on the Ecology of Maputoland. Rhodes University and Natal branch of the Wildlife Society of Southern Africa: 8–11.
J. Tomlinson (1966) ArticleTitleThe advantages of hermaphroditism and parthenogenesis Journal of Theoretical Biology 11 54–58 Occurrence Handle5961543 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:CCiC387nsVQ%3D
J. Verseveldt (1982) ArticleTitleA revision of the genus Sarcophyton Lesson (Octocorallia, Alcyonacea) Zoologische Verhandelingen 192 1–91
J. Verseveldt Y. Benayahu (1983) ArticleTitleOn two old and fourteen new species of Alcyonacea (Coelenterata, Octocorallia) from the Red Sea Zoologische Verhandelingen 208 1–33
S. Ward (1992) ArticleTitleEvidence for broadcast spawning as well as brooding in the scleractinian coral Pocillopora damicornis Marine Biology 112 641–646 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF00346182
G.C. Williams (1992) ArticleTitleThe Alcyonacea of Southern Africa. Stoloniferous octocorals and soft corals (Coelenterata, Anthozoa). Annals of the South African Museum 100 249–358
G.C. Williams (1993) Coral reef octocorals: An illustrated guide to the soft corals, sea fans and sea pens inhabiting the coral reef of Northern Natal Durban Natural Science Museum 1–64
J.H. Zar (1974) Biostatistical Analysis Prentice-Hall International Inc. London: 41–58 41–58
About this article
Cite this article
Schleyer, M.H., Kruger, A. & Benayahu, Y. Reproduction and the unusual condition of hermaphroditism in Sarcophyton glaucum (Octocorallia, Alcyoniidae) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Hydrobiologia 530, 399–409 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-004-2683-3