INTRODUCTIONThe reproductive biology of asteroids from a wide variety of ecological niches has been examined (Farmanfarmaian et al. 1958; Cognetti & Delavault, i962;Pearse, 1965; Chia, 1968; Crump, 1971; Jangoux & Vloebergh, 1973; Worley, Franz & Hendler, 1977; Barker, 1979; Shick, Taylor & Lamb, 1981). Most of the species within this class appear to show some degree of seasonal reproductive synchrony with very few species showing aseasonal reproduction (Shick et al. 1981). Although the seasonally reproducing asteroids show a wide variety of reproductive strategies, from planktotrophic larvae to direct development, they all occur in relatively shallow water and are thus subject to the seasonal fluctuations of the physico-chemical environment. Only two shallow-water species, Ctenodiscus crispatus (Shick et al. 1981) and Patiriella exigua (Lawson-Kerr & Anderson, 1978), have aseasonal reproduction in both males and females. However, the deep sea is the only major environment in the world's ocean for which we have no data for the reproductive cycle of asteroids.