Marine Biology

, Volume 120, Issue 1, pp 95–106 | Cite as

Reproductive cycle of Centrostephanus rodgersii (Echinoidea), with recommendations for the establishment of a sea urchin fishery in New South Wales

  • C. K. King
  • O. Hoegh-Guldberg
  • M. Byrne


The reproductive cycle of the sea urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii (Agassiz) was investigated in two populations, at Clovelly and Little Bay, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. C. rodgersii were collected at monthly intervals from February 1992 through January 1993. The reproductive cycle was determined by histological examination of oogenesis and spermatogenesis, monthly measurements of gonad index (GI), and induction of spawning by KCl injection. C. rodgersii has an annual reproductive cycle that was highly synchronous in both populations. From February to June, gametogenesis was accompanied by a decline in the amount of nutritive tissue in the gonads. The urchins were mature from June to September, with peak spawning between July and August, as indicated by a significant drop in GI. The breeding season of C. rodgersii therefore coincides with the lowest sea temperatures and the shortest days of the year. The gonads returned to the recovering condition within a month of spawning, with a substantial thickening of the nutritive layer along the gonad wall, and the GI returned to near pre-spawning levels. As a result, the spent phase was rarely found in C. rodgersii. With the exception of a significant decrease in the GI following spawning of urchins from the Clovelly population, the GI measurements did not show any distinct pattern through time. Specimens spawned in response to KCl injection from mid-May to early October, with the maximum response in July. Although all individuals sampled were at a similar stage of maturity at any one time, inter-site differences were seen with all of the methods used. Gonad indices from Little Bay were consistently higher and less variable than those from Clovelly for most of the year. The Little Bay population could also be induced to spawn for a longer period of time than could the Clovelly population. The breeding season of the Little Bay population appears to be longer than that of the Clovelly population. The relationship between size and sexual maturity was also examined. All C. rodgersii with a test diameter of >60 mm could be induced to spawn and produced viable gametes. C. rodgersii has been nominated for commercial exploitation in New South Wales, and the results of this investigation are used to make recommendations on the timing and size limits for a fishery utilising this species.


Breeding Season Reproductive Cycle Gonad Index Test Diameter Monthly Measurement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. K. King
    • 1
  • O. Hoegh-Guldberg
    • 1
  • M. Byrne
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Zoology (A08)The University of SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and HistologyThe University of SydneyAustralia

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