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Reproductive biology of Paracentrotus lividus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) in two contrasting habitats of northern Tunisia (south-east Mediterranean)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 May 2007

Fériel Sellem
Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer, 28, rue du 2 mars 1934–2025 Salammbô, Tunisia
Monique Guillou
LEMAR, UMRCNRS 6539, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, UBO, 29280 Plouzané, France


The reproductive strategies of the sea urchin, Paracentrotus lividus, were studied in the Bay of Tunis. Samples were collected monthly, from September 1993 to August 1995, in two sites which differ in their marine vegetation and their exposure to wave action. Histological examination demonstrated a cycle of gametogenesis with six reproductive stages and a main breeding period occurring between April and June. Gonad indices varied between sites and years, the sheltered site presenting a higher investment in reproduction.This difference was essentially induced by the largest sea urchins (above 40 mm in diameter). Repletion indices showed a clear pattern without difference between sites and years. The sea urchin increase in feeding activity was controlled by the need to allocate nutrient to the gonad during the mature stage. But the gonad investment was not correlated with the intensity of food intake. Hydrodynamic conditions might play a key role in diverting energy to the maintenance in an exposed environment at the expense of reproduction.

Research Article
2007 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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