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Kinetics of Oögenesis and Spawning Strategy of the Red Spiny Lobster Palinurus elephas

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Abstract The reproductive strategy of red spiny lobster Palinurus elephas from the north coast of Tunisia was investigated. We examined oögenesis of P. elephas by studying the histology of the ovaries. Seven growth substages of oöcytes were distinguished: 1) early primary oöcyte, St1; 2) late primary oöcyte, St2; 3) primary vitellogenic oöcyte, St3; 4) early secondary vitellogenic oöcyte, St4; 5) late secondary vitellogenic oöcyte, St5; 6) hyaline oöcyte, St6; and 7) atretic oöcyte, Atr. The kinetics of oögenesis of females is characterized by six successive ovarian development phases: Juvenile, sexual resting, beginning of vitellogenesis, vitellogenesis, spawning and post-spawning and recuperation. The oöcyte diameter frequency distributions were established for each mature female sampled and fitted by a Weibull function: . At the mature ovarian phases, two populations of oöcytes were distinguished; a fairly synchronous population of large vitellogenic oöcytes (St3 or St4 or St5), and a heterogeneous population of smaller oöcytes from which the next clutch will be recruited. In terms of ovarian organization, P. elephas can be considered as “group-synchronous.” The presence of only one clutch of yolked oöcytes able to be ovulated once during the breeding period suggests that the red spiny lobster spawns only once during every sexual cycle, i.e., P. elephas can be classified as species with a unique spawning period. By definition, such species are known as “synchronous ovulators” and also as “total spawners.”

Affiliations: 1: Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer, Port des pêches 2060 La Goulette, Tunisie; 2: Agronomic National Institute of Tunis (INAT) 43, rue Charles Nicoles 1082, Cité Almourjen, Tunisie


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