Spermcast mating with release of zygotes in the small dioecious bivalve Digitaria digitaria
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Marina, P., Urra, J., de Dios Bueno, J., Rueda, J. L., Gofas, S., & Salas, C. (2020). Spermcast mating with release of zygotes in the small dioecious bivalve Digitaria digitaria. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-11. [https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69457-2]
SponsorshipJunta de Andalucia; Spanish Government CGL2010-20748-CO2-01 CGL2010-20748-CO2-02 PB 92-0415
Digitaria digitaria, a small astartid usually less than 10 mm in length, has a non-brooding behaviour in spite of its limited space for gonad development. This species lives in highly unstable environments with strong currents, which represent a challenge for fertilization and larval settlement. The studied population of D. digitaria from the Strait of Gibraltar area was dioecious, with signifcant predominance of females and sexual dimorphism, where females are larger than males. The reproductive cycle is asynchronous throughout the year, without a resting period, but with successive partial spawning events. The presence of stored sperm in the suprabranchial chamber and inside the gonad of some females, together with the release of eggs along the dorsal axis of both gills, points to internal oocyte fertilization. Bacteriocytes were found in the female and male follicle walls, but no bacteria were observed inside any of the gametes. Digitaria digitaria could represent a “missing link” between spermcast mating bivalves with brooded ofspring and bivalves with broadcast release of eggs and sperm. The small size, limiting the oocyte production, together with the unstable environment could represent evolutionary pressures towards sperm uptake in D. digitaria.