Experimental induction of gonadal maturation and spawning in the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai (Scyphozoa: Rhizostomeae)
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We studied the processes of gonadal maturation, spawning, fertilization and embryonic development of the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai, which has been blooming in recent years in the Sea of Japan. Healthy medusae actively swimming offshore had immature gonads, but damaged and ashore-drifted animals had relatively mature gonads. The animals maintained in a small net on the nearshore to mimic the drifted condition showed induced gonadal maturation by the increase in oocyte diameter and darkness in the matrix. A similar maturation process also occurred in isolated pieces of ovary incubated at the same temperature. Fully grown oocytes that probably stopped at the prophase of the first meiosis reinitiated maturation divisions in response to light exposure, and massive spawnings occurred 80–100 min after the exposure. The spawned oocytes were first released within the subgenital sinus, then transported peripherally and finally shed into the gastrovascular cavity. Maturation and spawning in male gonads were similar to those of females except that the male spawning occurred within 30 min after the light exposure and always preceded the female spawning. Hence, it was suggested that fertilization might take place in the female gastrovascular cavity by the sperm that came in from surrounding seawater by animals’ pumping activities after dawn. Having mechanical damages might promote fertilization success of this species in the Sea of Japan.
KeywordsGerminal Vesicle Immature Oocyte Female Gonad Gonadal Maturation Male Gonad
We would like to thank Mr. M. Nishizaki, a technical staff at the Oki Marine Biological Station, Shimane University, for assisting with the experiments. Our gratitude is extended to Dr. K. Uematsu for helping in histological sample preparation. This study was in part supported by research grants from the Japan Science Promotion Society (No. 16405001).
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