The sea pen Funiculina quadrangularis (Pallas, 1766) is a species of conservation concern in Scottish coastal waters, due to its restricted geographical distribution and high sensitivity to demersal fishing activities. Reproduction in F. quadrangularis was investigated in a population located in southern Loch Linnhe, west Scotland. This was accomplished through the analysis of trends in oocyte size-frequency distribution and relative fecundity over a 12-month period. Funiculina quadrangularis is dioecious and the study population exhibited a sex ratio of 1:1. Oogenesis in female F. quadrangularis is characterised by the maintenance of a large pool of asynchronously developing oocytes throughout the year, of which a small proportion (<10%) mature with increasing sychronicity and are spawned in midwinter. The reasons for this distinct pattern of oogenesis and winter spawning remain unclear, although the potential influence of environmental cues and the role of endogenous factors in relation to this sea pen's deep-sea habit are discussed. Whilst the duration of oogenesis is prolonged (>12 months), it is proposed that spawning is a brief and synchronous annual event. Relative fecundity is high and is independent of colony size, varying between approximately 500-2000 oocytes per 1 cm rachial midsection. This measure of fecundity exhibited pronounced seasonality and was significantly lower during the post-spawning winter months. Total fecundity in F. quadrangularis is considered to be high; although a small proportion of the total number of oocytes is spawned annually, this is compensated for by large colony size. Funiculina quadrangularis produces large oocytes (>800 µm), indicative of the production of lecithotrophic larvae. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- sea pen