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Insights into spawning behavior and development of the European amphioxus (Branchiostoma lanceolatum)

, : Insights into spawning behavior and development of the European amphioxus (Branchiostoma lanceolatum). Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution 308(4): 484-493

The cephalochordate amphioxus (Branchiostoma sp.) is an important animal model for studying the evolution of chordate developmental mechanisms. Obtaining amphioxus embryos is a key step for these studies. It has been shown that an increase of 3-4 degrees C in water temperature triggers spawning of the European amphioxus (Branchiostoma lanceolatum) in captivity, however, very little is known about the natural spawning behavior of this species in the field. In this work, we have followed the spawning behavior of the European amphioxus during two spawning seasons (2004 and 2005), both in the field and in captivity. We show that animals in the field spawn approximately from mid-May through early July, but depending on the year, they show different patterns of spawning. Thus, even if temperature has a critical role in the induction of the spawning in captivity, it is not the major factor in the field. Moreover, we report some improvements on the methodology for inducing spawning in captivity (e.g. in maintenance, light cycle control and induction of spawning in a laboratory without running sea water system). These studies have important implications for amphioxus animal husbandry and for improving laboratory techniques to develop amphioxus as an experimental animal model.


PMID: 17520703

DOI: 10.1002/jez.b.21179

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