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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versión impresa ISSN 1519-6984


MAIA, RC.; ROCHA-BARREIRA, CA.  y  COUTINHO, R.. Reproductive cycle and embryonic development of the gastropod Melampus coffeus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Ellobiidae) in the Brazilian Northeast. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2012, vol.72, n.4, pp.935-943. ISSN 1519-6984.

Melampus coffeus belongs to a primitive group of pulmonate mollusks found mainly in the upper levels of the marine intertidal zone. They are common in the neotropical mangroves. Little is known about the biology of this species, particularly about its reproduction. The aim of this study was to 1) characterize the morphology and histology of M. coffeus' gonad; 2) describe the main gametogenesis events and link them to a range of maturity stages; 3) chronologically evaluate the frequency of the different maturity stages and their relation to environmental factors such as water, air and sediment temperatures, relative humidity, salinity and rainfall; and 4) characterize M. coffeus' spawning, eggs and newly hatched veliger larvae. Samples were collected monthly between February, 2007 and January, 2009 from the mangroves of Praia de Arpoeiras, Acaraú County, State of Ceará, northeastern Brazil. The characterization of the gonad development stages was carried out using routine histological techniques. The results of this study show that Melampus coffeus is a simultaneous hermaphrodite. The follicles have masculine and feminine elements, interleaved within the gonad. M. coffeus presents a well-defined synchronous reproductive cycle, showing successive maturation, release and resting periods. The average diameter of the oocytes was negatively correlated with salinity and positively correlated with rainfall. The results show that no reproductive activity occurs during periods of drought. After the dry season, the increasing rainfall levels and reduced salinity lead to the appearance of very dense populations, predominantly composed of small individuals.

Palabras clave : hermaphroditism; histology; mangrove; pulmonata; reproduction.

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