Reproductive cycle of two commercial species of sea cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) from Caribbean Panama
- 347 Downloads
The reproductive status of the holothuroid species Isostichopus badionotus (Selenka, 1867) and Holothuria mexicana (Ludwig, 1875) was studied over 16 months in Bocas del Toro (Panama), from November 1999 to February 2001. Sexual reproduction was evaluated by the gonad index method, and by histology of gonad development. In addition, population structure was assessed based on sex ratio, minimum reproductive size, and length and weight distributions of males and females. The sex ratio in both species was 1:1, with a unimodal population distribution composed mainly of mature individuals. The minimum reproductive length and weight were 13–20 cm and 150 g, respectively, for both species, although reproductive individuals 10 cm in length were also found. A consistently higher gonad index was observed in H. mexicana, due to a high proportion of mature females and males and high gonad indices in most monthly samples. Gametogenesis and spawning patterns seemed to occur throughout the year, with periods of enhanced activity. Two periods of maximum reproductive activity were tentatively identified: July–November for I. badionotus and February–July for H. mexicana, but neither species had a single, sharply defined annual spawning event. Further work on these exploited holothuroids should examine the relationships between reproduction and environmental factors and between reproductive status and recruitment.
KeywordsSexual Reproduction Reproductive Cycle Mature Female Reproductive Status Reproductive Activity
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.