This ultrastructural investigation of gametogenesis in a deep-sea anemone of the Bay of Biscay trawled around 2000 m depth, contributes to the knowledge of biology and strategy of reproduction of deep-sea benthos.
This sea anemone is dioecious. The sperm appears very similar to those of shallow water sea anemones of the genus, Calliactis. The ultrastructural investigation of oogenesis allows the characteristics of the stages of previtellogenesis and vitellogenesis to be defined. The latter begins with a period of lipogenesis correlated with the formation of a trophonema. Mature oocytes measure up to 180 (im in diameter. Study of spermatogenesis and oogenesis reveals that spawning occurs in April/May. In males, the main area of testicular cysts, full of sperm, reaches maximal development from March to May and, in females, the percentage of mature oocytes decreases from 33% in April to 1% in May.
Spawning may be induced by the advent in the deep-sea of the products of the spring phytoplankton bloom. This period of spawning, during the increased deposition of organic matter to the deep-sea floor, may be an advantageous strategy for early development of Paracalliactis.