Reproductive biology of the commercial sea cucumber Holothuria fuscogilva in the Solomon Islands
Ramofafia, C and Battaglene, SC and Bell, JD and Byrne, M, Reproductive biology of the commercial sea cucumber Holothuria fuscogilva in the Solomon Islands, Marine Biology, 136, (6) pp. 1045-1056. ISSN 0025-3162 (2000) [Refereed Article]
Reproduction of Holothuria fuscogilva (Selenka, 1867) in the Solomon Islands was investigated over a 4 yr period (1994 to 1998) by macroscopic and microscopic examination of the gonad tubules, the gonad index (GI) method, histological examination of gametogenesis, and spawning-induction trials. The gonad consisted of numerous tubules that dominated the coelom of gravid specimens. New tubules appeared in March, and grew in size and extent of branching until they reached their maximum size and maturity in August. Spawning occurred from August to October, with the majority of gametes released during October, although it was only partial in many individuals. After spawning, the tubules appeared wrinkled and resorbed into the gonad basis. A five-stage gonad maturity scale based on the macroscopic appearance of the gonad tubules corresponded with discrete stages of gametogenesis identified by histology. Gametogenesis was initiated in mid-March, with oogenesis and spermatogenesis occurring in parallel, followed by the growing stage (May to July) which was marked by active gamete development. Successful induction of spawning during the breeding period corroborated the GI and histological data. The uniform growth of gonad tubules indicated that H. fuscogilva in the Solomon Islands does not conform to the progressive tubule recruitment model described for other holothurians. An important application of this study is that the appearance of gonad tubules, removed by biopsy, can be used to determine the gonad condition of wild adults or captive broodstock.