Reproductive Strategies in Annelida: Germ Cell Formation and Regeneration

Part of the Diversity and Commonality in Animals book series (DCA)


 Annelida are metameric, eucoelomate bilaterian worms belonging to Lophotrochozoa, which is a major group of protostomes. This phylum includes Polychaeta, Oligochaeta, Hirudinea (leeches), and Archiannelida, and it is an important link in the evolution of body plan, regeneration, and reproduction. Although annelids generally reproduce sexually, many species can switch to asexual reproduction, proliferating exponentially, as seen in planarians, hydras, and some other lower invertebrates. Asexual reproduction is achieved through dedifferentiation and through stem cells regeneration, instead of being based on germ cells as in the case of sexual reproduction. Thus, studies on regeneration mechanisms and germ cells are essential for understanding annelid reproduction. In this chapter, Annelida’s reproduction and germ cell formation and regeneration are reviewed. Based on our research on the oligochaete Enchytraeus japonensis, a unique process of germ cell regeneration during asexual reproduction is proposed.


Annelida Germ cells PGCs Stem cells Regeneration Reproduction 



We would like to thank Editage ( for English language editing.


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© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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