Marine Biology

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 215–225 | Cite as

Factors regulating the reproductive cycles of two northeast pacific chitons, Tonicella lineata and T. insignis

  • J. H. Himmelman


The reproductive cycles of Tonicella lineata Wood and T. insignis Reeve are examined in relation to changes in physical and biotic conditions in different locations in British Columbia, Canada, over a 3 to 4 year period. A clearly annual reproductive cycle is displayed by both species, and in any one location and year reproductive events in the two species are similar. There is a progressive increase in the size of the gonads starting in the summer and continuing to mid-winter. Although no one environmental factor is likely to be correlated with this prolonged period of gonadal development, various phases of the annual temperature and photoperiod cycles do appear to coincide with particular phases of gametogenesis (such as gonial proliferation, vitellogenesis and gonadal maturation), and thus could act as external cues. There isa synchronous drop in gonadal size in T. lineata and T. insignis in the spring, as a result of spawning. The exact timing and abruptness of this event in different years can not be accounted for on the basis of temperature. However, new correlative data are presented to add further support to the hypothesis previously presented that the spring phytoplankton is the cue for natural spawning (Himmelman, 1975). Temperature may inhibit spawning in T. lineata if conditions are unseasonably cold.


Environmental Factor Phytoplankton Progressive Increase Reproductive Cycle Exact Timing 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Himmelman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.GIROQ (Groupe interuniversitaire de Recherches océanographiques du Québec) Département de BiologieUniversité LavalQuébecCanada

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