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Asexual Reproduction in Anthopleura Elegantissima (Anthozoa: Actiniaria): Seasonality and Spatial Extent of Clones

Kenneth P. Sebens
Ecology
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 434-444
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/1938961
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1938961
Page Count: 11
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Asexual Reproduction in Anthopleura Elegantissima (Anthozoa: Actiniaria): Seasonality and Spatial Extent of Clones
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Abstract

The sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima (Brandt) forms clonal aggregations in the field by binary longitudinal fission. The fission process leaves a noticeable scar which develops body-wall adhesive verrucae and returns to normal appearance over a month or more. The incidence of new division scars (without verrucae) and that of old scars (with developing verrucae) were used to examine the seasonality of the division process at Cattle Point, San Juan Island, Washington State, USA. Divisions can occur at any time of year but are most frequent during August to February. Body size increased over the spring and summer (April-August) and decreased over the fall and winter (September-March) in population samples and in monitored experimental clones. Frequency of division was positively correlated with a seasonal decrease of anemone basal diameter in the field. Division was least common during the period of rapid individual growth in the spring and early summer. When compared at the annual peak of body size it was the larger individuals that went on to divide over the fall and winter. Agonistic interactions (acrorhagial response, Francis 1973b) were used to examine the spatial extent of clonal aggregations at three field sites. Single clones were often discontinuous and were distributed over areas up to 100 m^2. Clone size increased from exposed to protected locations and from exposed (convex) to protected (concave) microhabitat.

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