Sexual reproduction of Stich opus chloronotus, a fissiparous sea cucumber, on Reunion Island, Indian Ocean
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Stichopus chloronotus is a holothurian of the orderAspidochirotes, family Stichopodidae, that is widelydistributed across the tropical Indo-Pacific region. It ismainly found on reef flats and slopes with considerablehydrodynamic energy. The species' density is relativelylow, but sometimes reaches up to several specimens perm2 (Franklin 1980; Conand 1989; Uthicke 1994; Conandet al. 1998). Similarly to nine other Aspidochirotes sea cucumbers,they can reproduce both sexually and asexually (Uthicke1994, 1997,2001; Conand et al. 1998). Their sexualreproduction has been studied in Australia (Franklin1980) and Malaysia (Tan ShauHwai and Bin Yasin 2000).Asexual reproduction is achieved by transverse fissionresulting in two animals that each regenerate the missingpart (Uthicke 1997; Conand and Uthicke 1998; Conand etal. 1998). The aim of this study was to describe the sexual re-production cycle on Reunion Island. The results should provide a better understanding of the respectiveroles of sexual and asexual reproduction and facilitate theinterpretation of population genetics (Uthicke et al. 1999and 2001).