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Sea-Temperature, Breeding and Distribution in Marine Animals

  • J. H. Orton (a1)


Breeding in marine animals has long been recognised in a vague way as being in some degree dependent upon sea-temperature. This attitude is well shown in Lo Bianco's last valuable contribution to our knowledge of the breeding periods of practically the whole fauna of the Gulf of Naples. In the Introduction to this work Lo Bianco (1, p. 531) gives tables of temperature observations for a number of years, but does not attempt to correlate them with the breeding periods observed. There are in the literature some observations of reproduction in particular animals being dependent upon particular temperatures, notably by Schmidt (2); but no attempt has been made, so far as I know, to show in a general way the connexion between breeding and temperature in marine animals. It is clear, however, from the writings of Appellöf that this naturalist had anticipated in his mind some of the results obtained from the experimental observations described briefly in the following pages and of the deductions made therefrom. It is believed that these experimental observations have afforded a clue which gives an insight into the way in which breeding may be correlated with temperature in a large number of marine animals, but owing to the inadequacies of breeding records and of observations on physical conditions in the sea only a brief survey has been attempted here, and a fuller discussion of the phenomena is reserved for a later work. In the following pages the extrusion of ripe ova, or the fertilisability of eggs with subsequent development, is taken as the criterion of breeding.



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