A review of the reproductive biology of fleshy-fruited species of sensu stricto was conducted. Among Cactaceae, is the most diverse and widely distributed genus in the Americas. The genus is strongly associated with bee pollination and coevolution with at least two bee genera is suggested. Fruits and vegetative parts, such as spiny cladodes, are closely linked with seed dispersal and highly efficient vegetative dissemination by animals. Vegetative multiplication appears to be more efficient than sexual reproduction for plant recruitment. Both sexual reproduction and plant multiplication seem to have contributed to the ecological and evolutionary success of the genus, but empirical evidence is lacking.
The reproductive biology of one of the most abundant notothenioids, Patagonotothen ramsayi, was investigated between February 2003 and November 2004 on the Falkland and Patagonian Shelves (Southwest Atlantic). Male and female P. ramsayi were mature at 27.6 and 24.8 cm L T, respectively. P. ramsayi is a total spawner, with a total fecundity ranging between 24,300 and 76,700 eggs. Spawning occurs on the shelf breaks between June and August with the peak in gonado-somatic indices in June. Analysis of length frequency distributions over the year and sex ratios of mature fish during the spawning season may indicate the presence of a nesting and nest guarding behaviour in male fish, similar to other rockcods. Features of its reproductive strategy, which enabled P. ramsayi to dominate the medium-sized demersal fishes on the Patagonian shelf are discussed and compared with those of other nototheniids and cottid sculpins from the Northern Hemisphere.
A study of the reproductive cycle of the Manila clam, , was undertaken at two sites in the northwest of Ireland from February 2003 to May 2004. Histological evidence showed that gametogenesis began in February and most gametes were ripe by May. Spawning began in May and continued until September. Gametes, which were ripe in October and November, were resorbed. Minimum and maximum condition indices were attained in February 2003 and June 2003, respectively, and decreased from June to September, signifying the spawning period. Vesicular cells were evident in the later gonadal stages in males. From December to March, most individuals were either spent or in a gonadal resting period. One hermaphrodite was observed.
This paper provides some of the only fisheries and quantitative biological data for the Mobulidae (manta and devil rays), a group of large pelagic species that are widely distributed in tropical and warm temperate waters. The data were derived from 409 mobulids that were taken as bycatch of drift gillnet fisheries for the skipjack tuna and subsequently examined at fish landing sites in Indonesia The most abundant of the five species was (∼50%), followed by (∼24%), (∼14%), (9%) and cf (2%). The four most abundant species were represented by a wide size range of each species and, in the case of , by embryos, neonates and fully mature individuals. The disc width at maturity (DW ) of males, derived from the proportion of males at each size class with fully calcified claspers, ranged from 1538 mm for to 3752 mm for . As the claspers of males become calcified over a relatively narrow size range, the process of maturation is presumably relatively rapid. There is an increasing demand for various body parts of mobulids. Branchial filter plates, which are used for traditional Chinese medicines, are the most valuable, fetching as much as 30 $US a kilo (dry weight). The skins are dried and deep fried and the flesh salted and dried and these are used for human consumption, while cartilage is dried for export as a filler for shark-fin soup. The very low fecundity of the large and probably long-lived mobulid rays make the stocks of their species particularly susceptible to further increases in fishing.
Apomixis is a mode of asexual reproduction through seed. Progeny produced by apomixis are clonal replicas of a mother plant. The essential feature of apomixis is that embryo sacs and embryos are produced in ovules without meiotic reduction or egg cell fertilisation. Thus, apomixis fixes successful gene combinations and propagates high fitness genotypes across generations. A more profound knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate reproductive events in plants would contribute fundamentally to understanding the evolution and genetic control of apomixis. Molecular markers were used to determine levels of genetic variation within and relationship among ecotypes of the facultative apomict Hypericum perforatum L. (2n = 4x = 32). All ecotypes were polyclonal, being not dominated by a single genotype, and characterised by different levels of differentiation among multilocus genotypes. Flow cytometric analysis of seeds indicated that all ecotypes were facultatively apomictic, with varying degrees of apomixis and sexuality. Seeds set by haploid parthenogenesis and/or by fertilisation of aposporic egg cells were detected in most populations. The occurrence of both dihaploids and hexaploids indicates that apospory and parthenogenesis may be developmentally uncoupled and supports two distinct genetic factors controlling apospory and parthenogenesis in this species. Cyto-embryological analysis showed that meiotic and aposporic processes do initiate within the same ovule: the aposporic initial often appeared evident at the time of megaspore mother cell differentiation. Our observations suggest that the egg cell exists in an active metabolic state before pollination, and that its parthenogenetic activation leading to embryo formation may occur before fertilisation and endosperm initiation.
Pacific bluefin is a highly valuable pelagic species that inhabits a broad range in the North Pacific Ocean. The reproductive biology, especially for the spawning aggregation in the south-western North Pacific Ocean, is not well understood. Thus, a total of 119 paired ovary specimens were collected from the Taiwanese longline fleet during the 1999 fishing season (late April through June) to gain a better understanding of important reproductivity-related stock parameters associated with this species. The following conclusions were made: (i) condition factor decreased from late May to early June; (ii) the sex ratio might be 1∶1 for spawners; (iii) the gonadosomatic index stayed at a relatively high level and markedly increased from late May to early June; (iv) histological examination of oocytes indicated that all specimens were sexually mature; (v) spawning activity appeared to start in May and peak in late May to early June; (vi) batch fecundity incre ased with fork length; and (vii) preliminary estimates of spawning frequency between batches ranged 2–4.5 days based on analysis of postovulatory follicles.
This study presents information on the reproductive biology of five southern African catshark species: Apristurus microps, A. saldanha, Apristurus sp., Galeus polli, and Scyliorhinus capensis. They were caught between Walvis Bay, Namibia, and Cape Agulhas, South Africa, from 50 to 1016 m deep. The reproductive mode of four species was oviparous, whereas G. polli exhibited aplacental viviparity. Males of all species attained first maturity slightly larger than females, and males of the four oviparous species attained a larger L Tmax than females. The length at 50% maturity was similar for males and females in most species. All species matured at an L T > 75% of L Tmax except for male Apristurus spp. and female G. polli, which matured at 71.2% and 68.8%, respectively, of L Tmax. The egg case of A. microps has minute tendrils, whereas those of S. capensis were quite long, suggesting different egg-laying habitats. Fecundity in G. polli ranged from 5 to 13, and litter size increased in relation to increased female length. Embryos of G. polli were large, each measuring approximately 30% of female L T. Neonates of G. polli were common and appear to have a demersal lifestyle; those of the four oviparous species were entirely absent from the study. Gravid A. microps were found in summer and winter, indicating a protracted breeding cycle, but reproductively active S. capensis were caught only in winter. Prior to this study, reproductive information on these catsharks was largely lacking.
Size at maturity, sexual dimorphism, gonad development, and abundance of white-dotted skate, Bathyraja albomaculata, were assessed along its geographic range in the Southwest Atlantic, from Uruguay to Tierra del Fuego (Argentina). In all, 291 specimens from eight research cruises conducted between 1998 and 2003 were examined. Length-mass relationships were sexually dimorphic, adult females being significantly heavier than males of the same length. The largest female observed was 762 mm total length (LT), and 50% maturity (LT50) was attained at 653 mm LT. The largest male was 732 mm LT, and male LT50 was 628 mm LT. Female and male LT50 were not significantly different and were about 86% of observed maximum size, similar to other Bathyraja species. The lack of sexual dimorphism in size at maturity and the slight difference in maximum size between sexes support the hypothesis of relaxation of selection for large female size in oviparous elasmobranchs. Liver size was not sexually dimorphic. Mature female gonads were symmetrical in terms of mass, and similar in ovarian follicle number and size. Females carried egg cases in April, September, and October, consistent with previous observations around the Islas Malvinas and suggesting year-round egg laying. Bathyraja albomaculata was most abundant on the outer continental shelf and slope between 36°30′S and 45°S (northern area). In contrast, it was generally absent between 48°S and 52°S (southern area), a region where it was formerly reported as abundant. These differences are coincident with the development of a fishery targeting skates in the southern area, whereas in the north B. albomaculata taken as bycatch are mostly discarded alive.
Because selfing enables a single individual to reproduce in a new location, the ability to self-fertilize should enhance plants' capacity for colonization. This study examined whether selfing ability correlated with successful migration in three fern species, Dryopteris carthusiana, Dryopteris intermedia, and Polystichum acrostichoides, which vary in their ability to colonize forests on abandoned agricultural lands in central New York, USA. Polystichum acrostichoides is much more frequent in forests that were never cleared for agriculture, D. carthusiana is more frequent in forests that developed on former fields, and D. intermedia is equally frequent in the two forest types. To test the hypothesis that better-colonizing species and post-agricultural forest populations have greater selfing ability, I assessed the sporophyte production of gametophytes grown in isolation and in pairs of varying relatedness. Dryopteris carthusiana had the highest reproductive success and selfing ability and P. acrostichoides the lowest. These results support the hypothesis that selfing may facilitate colonization in these species. They also exemplify the general pattern that polyploid fern species have higher rates of self-fertilization than related diploids, as the allotetraploid D. carthusiana had greater selfing ability than both diploid species.
At coitus, human sperm are deposited into the anterior vagina, where, to avoid vaginal acid and immune responses, they quickly contact cervical mucus and enter the cervix. Cervical mucus filters out sperm with poor morphology and motility and as such only a minority of ejaculated sperm actually enter the cervix. In the uterus, muscular contractions may enhance passage of sperm through the uterine cavity. A few thousand sperm swim through the uterotubal junctions to reach the Fallopian tubes (uterine tubes, oviducts) where sperm are stored in a reservoir, or at least maintained in a fertile state, by interacting with endosalpingeal (oviductal) epithelium. As the time of ovulation approaches, sperm become capacitated and hyperactivated, which enables them to proceed towards the tubal ampulla. Sperm may be guided to the oocyte by a combination of thermotaxis and chemotaxis. Motility hyperactivation assists sperm in penetrating mucus in the tubes and the cumulus oophorus and zona pellucida of the oocyte, so that they may finally fuse with the oocyte plasma membrane. Knowledge of the biology of sperm transport can inspire improvements in artificial insemination, IVF, the diagnosis of infertility and the development of contraceptives.