Reproduction of the commercial sea cucumber Holothuria scabra (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) in the Solomon Islands
Ramofafia, C and Byrne, M and Battaglene, SC, Reproduction of the commercial sea cucumber Holothuria scabra (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) in the Solomon Islands, Marine Biology, 142, (2) pp. 281-288. ISSN 0025-3162 (2003) [Refereed Article]
Over a 3-year period (1996-1998), reproduction of the commercial sea cucumber Holothuria scabra (Jaeger, 1833) was investigated in the Solomon Islands to determine the spawning pattern and whether gametogenesis is continuous or seasonal. The gonad consisted of a single cohort of tubules that developed uniformly. Macroscopic examination of the gonads revealed that mature gametes were present throughout the year. Individuals with gonads at different stages of maturity were present in most samples. Partly spawned gonads were prevalent in females, whereas mature gonads were prevalent in males. The time at which the peak gonad index was recorded differed among years. Although gametogenesis was continuous, with a potential for prolonged gamete release, a period of enhanced spawning occurred during the dry season, from September to December. Maximum gonad indices were reached prior to and during this period of enhanced spawning. Histology revealed that gametogenesis reinitiated in partly spawned gonads, resulting in the presence of gametes at different stages of development in the gonad. The uniform growth of gonad tubules indicated that H. scabra does not conform to the progressive tubule recruitment model described for holothurian oogenesis. Continuous reproduction in H. scabra and prolonged availability of mature gametes would facilitate use of this species for aquaculture.