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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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Abstract/ Summary

Some aspects of the reproductive biology of the polychaete Gorgoniapolynoe caeciliae have been described for the first time. Gorgoniapolynoe caeciliae is a deep-sea commensal species associated with Candidella imbricala, all octocoral that populates the New England Seamount chain. Gorgoniapolynoe caeciliae is a dioccious species with an equal sex ratio and fertile segments throughout most of the adult body. The gonads of both sexes are associated with genital blood vessels emerging from the posterior surface of most intersegmental septa. In the female, oogenesis is intraovarian with oocytes being retained within the ovary until vitellogenesis is completed. The largest female examined contained over 3000 eggs with a maximum diameter of 80-90 mu m. In the male, the testes are repeated in numerous segments and consist of small clusters of spermatogonia, spermatocytes and early spermatids associated with the walls of the genital blood vessels. Early spermatids are shed into the coelom where they complete differentiation into mature ect-aquasperm with a spherical head (4 mu m), a small cap-like acrosome, and a short mid-piece with four mitochondria. Indirect evidence suggests that this species is an annual breeder that releases its gametes into seawater and produces a planktotrophic larva following fertilization. The reproductive biology of G. caeciliae is consistent with that of most other polynoids including many shallow water species suggesting that phylogenetic history strongly shapes its biology.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Eckelbarger KJ, Watling L, Fournier H. Reproductive Biology of the Deep-Sea Polychaete Gorgoniapolynoe Caeciliae (Polynoidae), a Commensal Species Associated with Octocorals. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 2005;85(6): 1425-1433. Available at on publisher's site at

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Copyright 2005 Cambridge University Press.




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