Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 529–539 | Cite as

Salinity favorable for early development and gamete compatibility in two sympatric estuarine species of the genus Hediste (Polychaeta: Nereididae) in the Ariake Sea, Japan

  • Hiroaki TosujiEmail author
  • Masanori Sato
Research Article


Early development was examined, under various salinities, for two sympatric nereidid polychaetes, Hediste japonica and H. diadroma, which participated in a simultaneous reproductive swarming in an estuary of the Omuta-gawa River in Ariake Sea, Japan. The eggs of both species were isotonic to the medium of 27.5–30 psu salinity. The egg diameter in the isotonic salinity was 180–205 μm in H. japonica, and 130–160 μm in H. diadroma. Successful development of most embryos was observed in a salinity range of 22.5–30 psu in both species, while successful fertilization occurred in wider ranges of salinity, i.e., 10–34 psu in H. japonica and 10 to 30 psu in H. diadroma. In both species, free-swimming larval life started from the indistinct hatching of trochophores out of a jelly layer capsule. The lecithotrophic development appeared to run to the 4-setiger nectochaetes in H. japonica, while to 3-setiger nectochaetes in H. diadroma, resulting in a shorter pelagic larval life in H. japonica. In a comparison of larval morphology among Hediste species, we found a definite negative correlation between the prostomium width, which represents the larval size and depends on egg size, and relative length of chaetae to the prostomium width: the relative length of chaetae was the longest in H. diadroma (with the smallest egg size and long pelagic life), intermediate in H. japonica (intermediate egg size, short pelagic life), and the shortest in H. atoka (largest egg size, no true pelagic life). We also examined the possibility of hybridization between H. japonica and H. diadroma through cross-insemination experiments. The gametes of the two species were reciprocally compatible, and viable hybrid offspring were produced by the laboratory crosses. The hybrid larvae expressed intermediate phenotypes, but with a greater maternal influence in characteristics such as the relative length of chaetae and the lecithotrophic larval duration.


Lipid Droplet Prezygotic Isolation Pelagic Life Anal Cirrus Polar Body Formation 
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We would like to thank Hidetoshi Nakashima of the Omuta Zoo for assistance in collecting animals, and Simon P. Varnam (Shizuoka, Japan) for English advice. This research was supported by a grant from the Research Institute of Marine Invertebrates (RIMI), Tokyo, Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Faculty of ScienceKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of ScienceKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan

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