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Reproductive cycle of Loxechinus albus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) in two areas of the Magellan Region (53ºS, 70-72ºW), Chile
S.T. Oyarzún, S.L. Marín, C. Valladares and J.L. Iriarte

The reproductive cycle of the Chilean edible sea urchin, Loxechinus albus, was studied in two areas of the Magellan region, the Cockburn Channel (53°43´S, 70°42´W) and Dawson Island (53°43´S, 72°00´W). Eleven monthly samplings were carried out from April 1996 to May 1997 in each area and samples of between 88 and 100 organisms were collected. Test diameter, total wet weight, and wet gonad weight was measured for each organism. Sex, gonad index, maturity index and gametogenic condition were estimated for each organism through histological analyses. The results indicate that L. albus in the Magellan region has an annual reproductive cycle in which the temporal sequence of different gametogenic processes can not be distinguished accurately due to the rapid and continuous gonadal recovery and gamete production after the spawning period. Although mature organisms were present most of the year, simultaneous spawning of males and females occurred from August to September in Dawson Island and from July to September in the Cockburn Channel. Gametes of those organisms that became mature after the spawning period were resorbed by nutritive phagocytes. Results from this study suggest that small-scale variability of spawning period in the Magellan region may be explained by the differences in food type and availability among areas. Our results also suggest that the Magellan region is an exception to the latitudinal pattern of spawning period reported for most of the Chilean coast. This large-scale variability may be explained by the simultaneous occurrence of low temperatures and short days during late winter and early spring.

Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 63(Suppl.1) : 439-449 Back PDF
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