Addis, Alberto and Fabiano, Francesca and Delogu, Valentina and Carcupino, Marcella (2013) Reproductive system morphology of Lightiella magdalenina (Crustacea, Cephalocarida): functional and adaptive implications. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development, Vol. 57 (2), p. 142-155. ISSN 0792-4259. eISSN 2157-0272. Article.
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The reproductive systems of adults and larvae of Lightiella magdalenina were examined. Lightiella magdalenina, similar to the best-known cephalocarida species Hutchinsoniella macracantha, is a simultaneous hermaphrodite. Although the morphology of their reproductive system is similar, L. magdalenina differs from H. macracantha in exhibiting reduced fecundity: it lays one egg, not two, per reproductive event. This is due to asynchronous development of the oocytes inside the paired female reproductive structures, which determines the maturation of a single egg at a time. The reduced fecundity of L. magdalenina could be offset by the precocious release of oocytes from the germarium, which begins the vitellogenetic process during the last larval stages. Due to this process, after their last moult, reproductive adults can have a large number of advanced vitellogenic oocytes, reducing the time required for their maturation. A possible adaptive relationship between the halved fecundity with pre- and post-hatching parental care is discussed.
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