Reproductive cycle of the sea urchin Holopneustes purpurascens (Temnopleuridae: Echinodermata)

J. E. Williamson*, P. D. Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This study documents the annual reproductive cycle of the Temnopleurid echinoid Holopneustes purpurascens near Sydney. H. purpurascens reached sexual maturity between 11 and 26 mm diameter and was gonochoristic. The sequence of oogenesis was similar to previously described echinoids. However, the proportion of eggs at each stage showed no temporal pattern in abundance, suggesting that vitellogenesis is continuous throughout the year. Spermatogenesis was also similar to other echinoids and showed a significant increase in the proportion of partially spawned testes in spring, followed by a similar increase in the proportion of partially spawned testes in late spring and summer. Gonad indices showed a peak in weight from late winter to mid-spring (9.10 ± 1.47 for females; 6.28 ± 0.43 for males; mean ± SE), then a decline for both sexes. Although spawning was variable over time, there was a peak in the proportion of spawning from late winter to early summer that correlated with the observed peaks in gonad indices and gametogenic cycles. The demographic implications of this reproductive pattern are that new recruits can enter the population through synchronous spawning during the breeding period, and smaller haphazard spawning events at other times of the year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-532
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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