This work on Red Sea alcyonaceans describes the reproductive patterns of 21 xeniid species. Gonochorism is the commonest sexual mode but simultaneous hermaphroditism was recorded in 4 species and brooding of planulae was observed in 15 species. The reproductive patterns of Xenia umbellata and Heteroxenia fuscescens were examined. X. umbellata exhibits seasonal spermatogenesis, continuous oogenesis and a 7 month period of planulation each year. H. fuscescens has continuous gametogenesis, and planulation occurs throughout the year, lacking any lunar pattern. The prolonged breeding season of H. fuscescens reflects intrapopulation asynchrony in larval development and subsequent maturation. Xeniids possess structurally similar gonads, but adopt diverse reproductive and developmental pathways.
- Red Sea
- sexual reproduction