Marine Biology

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 281–290 | Cite as

Reproduction in Amphiura filiformis (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea): Seasonality in gonad development

  • T. Bowner


The burrowing ophiuroid Amphiura filiformis (O. F. Müller) (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) colonises an extensive area and is a numerically dominant member of the macrofauna in Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland. There, it has a discrete, relatively short annual breeding period, from June to September, with peak activity in the month of August. The breeding period approximates in timing those of other European populations. The oocytes of a particular year are laid down in the autumn of the previous year; they begin to develop in spring, with the period of fastest growth in May/June. Gonad growth corresponds quite closely to the annual rise in water temperature, with spawning taking place during the warmest months of the year. The species is polytelic, and it is suggested that the long-lived Galway Bay individuals may breed every year for several years. The relationship between spawning and population dynamics is discussed in the light of current, available literature concerning A. filiformis from other parts of Europe. The role of so-called “ultimate factors” in the process of ophiuroid maturation and spawning is discussed.


Europe Water Temperature Population Dynamic West Coast Fast Growth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Boolootian, R. A.: Reproductive physiology. In: Physiology of Echinodermata, pp 561–613. Ed. by R. A. Boolootian. New York: Interscience 1966Google Scholar
  2. Buchanan, J. B.: A comparative study of some features of the biology of Amphiura filiformis and Amphiura chiajei (Ophiuroidea), considered in relation to their distribution. J. mar. biol. Ass. U. K. 44, 565–576 (1964)Google Scholar
  3. Buchanan, J. B.: Dispersion and demography of some infaunal echinoderm populations. Symp. zool. Soc. Lond. 20, 1–11 (1967)Google Scholar
  4. Chadwick, H. C.: Echinoderm larvae. L. M. B. C. Mem. typ. Br. mar. Pl. Anim. 22, 1–33 (1914)Google Scholar
  5. Fenaux, L.: Aspects écologiques de la reproduction des echinides et ophiures de Villefranche-sur-mer, 193pp. Thèse Doctorat. Université de Paris 1968Google Scholar
  6. Fenaux, L.: Maturation of the gonads and the seasonal cycle of the planktonic larvae of the ophiuroid Amphiura chiajeii Forbes. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 138, 262–271 (1970)Google Scholar
  7. Fenaux, L.: Evolution saisonnière des gonades chez l'ophiure Ophioderma longicauda (Retzius), Ophiuroidea. Int. Revue ges. Hydrobiol. 57, 257–262 (1972)Google Scholar
  8. Fuji, A.: Studies on the biology of sea urchins, 111. Reproductive cycles of two sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus nudus and S. intermedius, in southern Hokkaido. Bull. Fac. Fish. Hokkaido Univ. 11, 49–57 (1960)Google Scholar
  9. Glémarec, M. and A. Menesguen: Functioning of a muddy sand ecosystem: seasonal fluctuations of different trophic levels and difficulties in estimating production of the dominant macrofauna species. In. Marine benthic dynamics, pp 49–68. Ed. by K. R. Tenore and B. C. Coull. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press 1980Google Scholar
  10. Guille, A.: Contribution a l'étude de la systematique et de l'écologie d'Ophiothrix quinquemaculata d. Ch. Vie Milieu 15, 243–308 (1964)Google Scholar
  11. Hendler, G.: Northwest Atlantic amphiurid brittle stars, Amphioplus abditus (Verrill), Amphioplus macilentus (Verrill), and Amphioplus sepultus n. sp. (Ophiuroidea: Echinodermata): contributions on their systematics, zoogeography, annual periodicity and larval adaptations, 255pp. Ph. D. thesis, University of Connecticut 1973Google Scholar
  12. Hendler, G.: Reproductive periodicity of ophiuroids (Ech: Oph) on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Panamá, In: Reproductive ecology of marine invertebrates, pp 145–156. Ed. by S. E. Stanyck, Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press 1979Google Scholar
  13. Keegan, B. F., B. O'Connor, D. McGrath and G. Könnecker: The Amphiura filiformis-Amphiura chiajei community in Galway Bay (west coast of Ireland)-a preliminary account. Thalassia jugosl. 12, 189–198 (1976)Google Scholar
  14. Mortensen, T. H.: Notes on the development and the larval forms of some Scandinavian echinoderms. Vidensk. Meddr dansk naturh. Foren. 71, 133–160 (1920)Google Scholar
  15. Mortensen, T. H.: Handbook of the echinoderms of the British Isles, 471 pp. London: Oxford University Press 1927Google Scholar
  16. Muus, K.: Density and growth of juvenile Amphiura filiformis (Ophiuroidea) in the Øresund. Ophelia 20, 153–168 (1981)Google Scholar
  17. Ockelmann, K. W. and K. Muus: The biology, ecology and behaviour of the bivalve Mysella bidentata (Montagu). Ophelia 17, 1–92 (1978)Google Scholar
  18. O'Connor B. and D. McGrath: The population dynamics of Amphiura filiformis (O. F. Müller) in Galway Bay, west coast of Ireland. In: Echinoderms: present and past, pp 219–222. Ed. by M. Jangoux Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema 1980Google Scholar
  19. Patent, D. H.: The reproductive cycle of Gorgonocephalus caryi (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 136, 241–252 (1969)Google Scholar
  20. Rees, C. B.: Continuous plankton records: the distribution of echinoderm larvae in the North Sea, 1947–1951. Bull. mar. Ecol. 4 (28), 47–67 (1954)Google Scholar
  21. Singletary, R. L.: The biology and ecology of Amphioplus coniortodes, Ophionephthys limicola and Micropholis gracillima (Ophiuroidea: Amphiuridae), 136 pp. Ph. D. thesis, University of Miami 1970Google Scholar
  22. Smith, J. E.: The reproductive system and associated organs of the brittle-star Ophiothrix fragilis. Q. Jl microsc. Sci. 82, 267–310 (1940)Google Scholar
  23. Thorson, G.: On the reproductive and larval stages of the brittlestars Ophiocten sericeum (Forbes) and Ophiura robusta Ayres in east Greenland. Meddr Grønland 100 (4), 1–20 (1934)Google Scholar
  24. Thorson, G.: Bottom communities (sublittoral and shallow shelf). Mem. geol. Soc. Am. 67 (1), 461–534 (1957)Google Scholar
  25. Tyler, P. A.: Seasonal variation and ecology of gametogenesis in the genus Ophiura (Ophiuroidea: Echinodermata) from the Bristol Channel. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 30, 185–197 (1977)Google Scholar
  26. Tyler, P. A. and J. D. Gage: Reproductive ecology of deep sea ophiuroids in the Rockall Trough, In: Cyclic phenomena in marine plants and animals, pp 215–222. Ed. by E. Naylor and R. G. Hartnoll. Oxford: Pergamon Press 1979Google Scholar
  27. Tyler, P. A. and J. D. Gage: Reproduction and growth of the deep-sea brittle-star Ophiura ljungmani (Lyman). Oceanol. Acta 3, 177–185 (1980)Google Scholar
  28. Woodley, J. D.: The behaviour of some amphiurid brittle-stars. J. mar. Biol. Ecol. 18, 29–46 (1977)Google Scholar
  29. Yoshida, M.: Some observations on the maturation of the sea urchin Diadema setosum. Annotnes zool. jap. 25, 265–271 (1952)Google Scholar
  30. Zavodnik, D.: Amphiuridae (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) of the Adriatic Sea. Zool. Jb. (Abt. Syst. Ökol. Geogr. Tiere) 99, 610–625 (1972)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Bowner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity College GalwayGalwayIreland

Personalised recommendations