The midgut tract of decapods is a digestive organ involved in the synthesis of peritrophic membrane, food transport, absorption of nutrients, and osmoregulation. The midgut tract has been described in detail in adult decapods, but little information is available regarding the morphology and ultrastructure of the midgut tract in larval stages. The present study describes the midgut tract and the midgut–hindgut junction of the larvae of the common spider crab Maja brachydactyla Balss, 1922 using techniques that included dissection, light microscopy, and electron microscopy. The study is mainly focused on the stages of zoea I and megalopa. The results obtained in this study show that the larval midgut tract is a short and simple tube positioned anteriorly, between the stomach and the hindgut tract. During larval development, the maximum length of the midgut tract increases significantly, but no differences were found on either the maximum diameter or the morphological traits of the organ. The midgut tract is active at least ca. 12 h after hatching, as suggested by the presence of the peritrophic membrane in the lumen, the presence of abundant electro-dense vesicles in the cell apex, and the release of the vesicle content on the organ lumen. The midgut–hindgut junction forms an abrupt transition between the midgut tract and the hindgut tract in which epithelial cells with mixed features of midgut and hindgut do not occur.
Reconstruction of marine communities in search of baseline (pristine) conditions is a crucial first step for their future restoration. A recent reconstruction (last century) of the sandy-muddy bottom fauna on the continental shelf of a marine protected area (MPA) was performed in the Columbretes Reserve, including periods after and before the Reserve declaration. The dating of sediments and identification of faunal remains (e.g., shells of benthic bivalves and gastropods and pelagic pteropods) were performed in a core (MC2) at a depth of 87 m in 2018. Radiometric data identified sediments older (below 11 cm) and younger (from the top of the core to 11 cm) than ca. 110 years. Mercury analyses validated the ²¹⁰Pbxs data at 5–7 cm (1967–1989), with a significant Hg peak that coincided with a period of military activities occurring until 1982 in the Columbretes Islands. Both human and climatic variables affected benthic and pelagic communities. Among the human impacts, the cessation of trawling activity after the declaration of the MPA (1980s) influenced the most dominant benthos (bivalves and gastropods) by i) increases in their abundance and ii) changes in the feeding guilds, with a return to baseline conditions by the increase in filter feeders after trawling cessation vs a high abundance of detritus feeders occurring under high trawling activity. Human activities apparently did not affect diversity levels. In parallel, we also identified some recolonization by Octocorallia since the 1980s. Finally, the increase in the pelagic pteropod Creseis acicula since 1995 at the MC2 station probably indicates the result of warming of surface waters in recent decades. Our study based on core reconstructions provides for the first time an historical perspective of the impact of trawling on marine benthos and the positive effect of conservation measures in marine protected areas.
The successful colonization of new habitats has played a fundamental role during the evolution of life. Salinity is one of the strongest barriers for organisms to cross, which has resulted in the evolution of distinct marine and non-marine (including both freshwater and soil) communities. Although microbes represent by far the vast majority of eukaryote diversity, the role of the salt barrier in shaping the diversity across the eukaryotic tree is poorly known. Traditional views suggest rare and ancient marine/non-marine transitions but this view is being challenged by the discovery of several recently transitioned lineages. Here, we investigate habitat evolution across the tree of eukaryotes using a unique set of taxon-rich phylogenies inferred from a combination of long-read and short-read environmental metabarcoding data spanning the ribosomal DNA operon. Our results show that, overall, marine and non-marine microbial communities are phylogenetically distinct but transitions have occurred in both directions in almost all major eukaryotic lineages, with hundreds of transition events detected. Some groups have experienced relatively high rates of transitions, most notably fungi for which crossing the salt barrier has probably been an important aspect of their successful diversification. At the deepest phylogenetic levels, ancestral habitat reconstruction analyses suggest that eukaryotes may have first evolved in non-marine habitats and that the two largest known eukaryotic assemblages (TSAR and Amorphea) arose in different habitats. Overall, our findings indicate that the salt barrier has played an important role during eukaryote evolution and provide a global perspective on habitat transitions in this domain of life.
The Arctic environment has changed profoundly in recent decades. Aerosol particles are involved in numerous feedback mechanisms in the Arctic, e.g., aerosol-cloud/radiation interactions, which have important climatic implications. To understand changes in different Arctic aerosol types and number concentrations, we have performed a trend analysis of particle number size distributions, their properties, and their associated air mass history at Villum Research Station, northeastern Greenland, from 2010 to 2018. We found that, during spring, the total/ultrafine mode number concentration and the time air masses spent over the open ocean is significantly increasing, which can be ascribed to transport patterns changing to more frequent arrival from the ice-free Greenland Sea. We found that, during summer, the total/ultrafine mode number concentration, the occurrence of the Nucleation cluster (i.e. newly formed particles from gas to particle conversion), and the time air masses spent over the open ocean is significantly increasing. This can also be attributed to changing transport patterns, here with air masses arriving more frequently from Baffin Bay. Finally, we found that, during autumn, the ultrafine number concentration and the occurrence of the Pristine cluster (i.e. clean, natural Arctic background conditions) is significantly increasing, which is likely due to increasing amounts of accumulated precipitation along the trajectory path and decreasing time air masses spent above the mixed layer, respectively. Our results demonstrate that changing circulation and precipitation patterns are the factors predominantly affecting the trends in aerosol particle number concentrations and the occurrence of different aerosol types in northeastern Greenland. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science (2022) 5:62 ; https://doi.
Macrofauna associated with the bamboo coral Isidella elongata was analysed in the Balearic Basin at depths of 697–1308 m. The diversity of associated macrofauna and the specific associations identified depended on different morphological characteristics of colonies, such as height or density of rami. Species associated with Isidella consisted mainly of sessile fauna, such as cnidarians (the actinian Amphianthus dornhii and the solitary coral Desmophyllum dianthus) and cirripeds (Gibossaverruca sp.). The strongest relationship (commensalism) occurred for the Pontogeneiidae amphipod Dautzenbergia megacheir, living attached to colonies of Isidella and represented by all population stages from adult (oostegal) females and males to juveniles. Species-coral relationships between Dautzenbergia and bamboo corals (Isididae) are plausible. Dautzenbergia spp. showed morphological differences between Atlantic (described by Walker 1897 as “eyes wanting”) and Mediterranean (with well-developed reddish eyes) specimens. This would suggest diversification of this genus, as has been recently suggested for Pleustidae associated with deep gorgonians. The diversity of the macrofaunal community associated with I. elongata was higher in the most mature (larger colonies with higher density) fields found NW of Mallorca, with higher colonies than in other parts of the Mediterranean. This was the only site where Gibossaverruca sp. (a first Mediterranean faunal record) and D. dianthus were collected. These complex associations between macrofauna and deep-water corals may provide arguments to protect these fragile ecosystems as a source of faunal diversity and diversification.
Understanding the linkages within complex and evolving marine food webs is essential to comprehend marine ecosystem structure and dynamics. Carbon (δ¹³C) and nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) stable isotope signatures are recognized to be powerful descriptors of the trophic ecology and trophic relationships within marine communities. Apex predators such as seabirds can influence the structure of communities by predating in lower trophic levels. They also convey information both over a range of spatial and temporal scales due to their high mobility and longevity, respectively. For this reason, here, we studied the trophic ecology of northern gannets and the extent of niche overlap with other apex predators within the Bay of Biscay (North-East Atlantic), a key feeding area for numerous predatory species. Mixing models indicated that northern gannets fed primarily on European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus and on a mixed group composed of European sardine Sardina pilchardus, European sprat Sprattus sprattus, juvenile hake Merluccius merluccius, Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus and Atlantic horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus. Within the apex predator community, the northern gannets trophic niche overlapped the most with common guillemots Uria aalge (15.58%, based on Stable Isotope Bayesian Ellipses (SIBER)) and overlapped to a lesser extent with cetacean species occupying shelf habitats (i.e., the harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena (9.99%) and the short-beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis (10.37%)). Overall, the overlap found was moderate indicating trophic similarities and dissimilarities between these species. Information on trophic interactions between co-existing species is necessary for holistic environmental management, particularly in areas where several megafauna species share their foraging grounds with fisheries activity.
Although there is a great knowledge about individual anthropogenic threats to different fish species in the Mediterranean Sea, little is known about how these threats accumulate and interact to affect fish species richness in conjunction with environmental dynamics. This study assesses the role of these threats in the fish richness component and identifies the main areas where the interaction between fish species richness and threats is highest. Our results show that fish richness seems to be higher in saltier and colder areas where the chlorophyll-a and phosphate concentrations are lower. Among the antropogenic threats analyzed, the costal impact and the fishing effort seems to be the more relevant ones. Overall areas with high fish richness are mainly located along the western and northern shores, with lower values in the south-eastern regions. Areas of potential high cumulative threats are widespread in both the western and eastern basins, with fewer areas located in the south-eastern region. By describing the spatial patterns of the fish richness and which drivers explain these patterns we can also identify which anthropogenic activities can be managed more effectively to maintain and restore marine fish biodiversity in the basin.
Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of marine heatwaves (MHWs) and mass mortality events (MMEs) of marine organisms are one of their main ecological impacts. Here, we show that during the 2015–2019 period, the Mediterranean Sea has experienced exceptional thermal conditions resulting in the onset of five consecutive years of widespread MMEs across the basin. These MMEs affected thousands of kilometers of coastline from the surface to 45 m, across a range of marine habitats and taxa (50 taxa across 8 phyla). Significant relationships were found between the incidence of MMEs and the heat exposure associated with MHWs observed both at the surface and across depths. Our findings reveal that the Mediterranean Sea is experiencing an acceleration of the ecological impacts of MHWs which poses an unprecedented threat to its ecosystems' health and functioning. Overall, we show that increasing the resolution of empirical observation is critical to enhancing our ability to more effectively understand and manage the consequences of climate change. During the 2015‐2019 period, the Mediterranean Sea has experienced exceptional marine heatwaves conditions resulting in the onset of five consecutive years of widespread MMEs across the basin. These MMEs affected thousands of kilometers of coastline from the surface to 45 m depth, across a range of marine habitats and taxa (50 taxa across 8 phyla). By assessing and integrating temperature data with mass mortality records across the basin, our study provides the most up‐to‐date account of the impacts of extreme warming events on Mediterranean marine organisms and ecosystems.
Marine protected areas provide cultural services including the aesthetic appreciation of the landscape and the performance of recreational activities. In this study, we use the photographs shared by users in a digital repository to describe the distinctive characteristics of two terrestrial-maritime natural parks in Spain. In total, 1,041 photos and 2,342 tags generated by 76 users were analyzed. The results show the greatest salience of the landscape values, followed by historical monuments and the sighting of fauna and flora. The methodology based on the extraction of digital data from Flickr facilitates the efficient comparison of a Mediterranean archipelago (Cabrera Island) with an Atlantic archipelago (Cíes Islands). However, some important limitations were also detected in the descriptive capacity of this method, in comparison with the content analysis by external observers. Overall, the evaluation of the subjective experience of visitors to natural areas can be very useful for tourism management of the marine environment.
Microbial communities have essential roles in ocean ecology and planetary health. Microbes participate in nutrient cycles, remove huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the air and support ocean food webs. The taxonomic and functional diversity of the global ocean microbiome has been revealed by technological advances in sampling, DNA sequencing and bioinformatics. A better understanding of the ocean microbiome could underpin strategies to address environmental and societal challenges, including achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals way beyond SDG 14 ‘life below water’. We propose a set of priorities for understanding and protecting the ocean microbiome, which include delineating interactions between microbiota, sustainably applying resources from oceanic microorganisms and creating policy- and funder-friendly ocean education resources, and discuss how to achieve these ambitious goals. Studying the ocean microbiome can inform international policies related to ocean governance, tackling climate change, ocean acidification and pollution, and can help promote achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals.
Most of the electric and electronic waste is not recycled and the release of its components into the environment is expected, including the rare-earth element Lanthanum (La), which has already been reported in the aquatic systems. Furthermore, considering climate change factors such as the predicted increase in temperature, the susceptibility of aquatic organisms to these rare elements may be modified. In light of this, the present study aimed to evaluate the relevance of temperature on La-derived effects in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Several biomarkers and La bioaccumulation were assessed in organisms exposed to 0 (control) and 10 μg/L of La at two distinct temperatures (17 and 22 °C) for 28days. Results showed that temperature did not influence La bioaccumulation in mussels. However, exposure to La resulted in a decreased metabolic capacity and an enhancement of biotransformation enzymes activity, as a possible defense behavior of mussels to avoid La accumulation and toxicity. Nevertheless, antioxidant defenses were also inhibited leading to increased lipid peroxidation (LPO) levels. Warming alone seemed to cause a metabolic shutdown seen as reduced enzyme activities and protein carbonylation (PC) levels. Simultaneous La exposure and temperature rise caused combined effects on mussels, as they accused metabolic depression, biotransformation defenses activation, antioxidant capacity reduction, and higher cellular damage. Overall, this study highlights the need to perform environmental risk assessment studies, by considering emerging contaminants exposures at relevant concentrations, both at present and forecasted climate change scenarios.
Understanding the ocean carbon sink and its future acidification-derived changes requires accurate and precise measurements with good spatiotemporal coverage. In addition, a deep knowledge of the thermodynamics of the seawater carbonate system is key to interconverting between measured and calculated variables. To gain insights into the remaining inconsistencies in the seawater carbonate system, we assess discrete water column measurements of carbon dioxide fugacity (fCO2), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TA), and pH measured with unpurified indicators, from hydrographic cruises in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans included in GLODAPv2.2020 (19,013 samples). An agreement of better than ±3% between fCO2 measured and calculated from DIC and pH is obtained for 94% of the compiled dataset, while when considering fCO2 measured and calculated from DIC and TA, the agreement is better than ±4% for 88% of the compiled dataset, with a poorer internal consistency for high-CO2 waters. Inspecting all likely sources of uncertainty from measured and calculated variables, we conclude that the seawater carbonate system community needs to (i) further refine the thermodynamic model of the seawater carbonate system, especially K2, including the impact of organic compounds and other acid-base systems on TA; (ii) update the standard operating procedures for the seawater carbonate system measurements following current technological and analytical advances, paying particular attention to the pH methodology that is the one that evolved the most; (iii) encourage measuring discrete water column fCO2 to further check the internal consistency of the seawater carbonate system, especially given the new era of sensor-based seawater measurements; and (iv) develop seawater Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) for fCO2 and pH together with seawater CRMs for TA and DIC over the range of values encountered in the global ocean. Our conclusions also suggest the need for a re-evaluation of the adjustments applied by GLODAPv2 to pH, which were based on DIC and TA consistency checks but not supported by fCO2 and DIC consistency.
Trophic interactions between marine phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria are at the base of the biogeochemical carbon cycling in the ocean. However, the specific interactions taking place between phytoplankton and bacterial taxa remain largely unexplored, particularly out of phytoplankton blooming events. Here, we applied network analysis to a 3.5-year time-series dataset to assess the specific associations between different phytoplankton and bacterial taxa along the seasonal scale, distinguishing between free-living and particle-attached bacteria. Using a newly developed network post-analysis technique we removed bacteria-phytoplankton correlations that were primarily driven by environmental parameters, to detect potential biotic interactions. Our results indicate that phytoplankton dynamics may be a strong driver of the inter-annual variability in bacterial community composition. We found the highest abundance of specific bacteria-phytoplankton associations in the particle-attached fraction, indicating a tighter bacteria-phytoplankton association than in the free-living fraction. In the particle-associated fraction we unveiled novel potential associations such as the one between Planctomycetes taxa and the diatom Leptocylindrus spp. Consistent correlations were also found between free-living bacterial taxa and different diatoms, including novel associations such as those between SAR11 with Naviculales diatom order, and between Actinobacteria and Cylindrotheca spp. We also confirmed previously known associations between Rhodobacteraceae and Thalassiosira spp. Our results expand our view on bacteria-phytoplankton associations, suggesting that taxa-specific interactions may largely impact the seasonal dynamics of heterotrophic bacterial communities.
Measuring plankton and associated variables as part of ocean time-series stations has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of ocean biology and ecology and their ties to ocean biogeochemistry. It will open temporal scales (e.g., resolving diel cycles) not typically sampled as a function of depth. In this review we motivate the addition of biological measurements to time-series sites by detailing science questions they could help address, reviewing existing technology that could be deployed, and providing examples of time-series sites already deploying some of those technologies. We consider here the opportunities that exist through global coordination within the OceanSITES network for long-term (climate) time series station in the open ocean. Especially with respect to data management, global solutions are needed as these are critical to maximize the utility of such data. We conclude by providing recommendations for an implementation plan.
Anthropogenic mercury (Hg) undergoes long-range transport to the Arctic where it is transformed into methylmercury (MeHg), potentially leading to high exposure in some Arctic inhabitants and wildlife. The environmental exposure of Hg is determined not just by the amount of Hg entering the Arctic, but also by biogeochemical and ecological processes occurring in the Arctic. These processes affect MeHg uptake in biota by regulating the bioavailability, methylation and demethylation, bioaccumulation and biomagnification of MeHg in Arctic ecosystems. Here, we present a new budget for pools and fluxes of MeHg in the Arctic and review the scientific advances made in the last decade on processes leading to environmental exposure of Hg. Methylation and demethylation are key processes controlling the pool of MeHg available for bioaccumulation. Methylation of Hg occurs in diverse Arctic environments including permafrost, sediments and the ocean water column, and is primarily a process carried out by microorganisms. While microorganisms carrying the hgcAB gene pair (responsible for Hg methylation) have been identified in Arctic soils and thawing permafrost, the formation pathway of MeHg in oxic marine waters remains less clear. Hotspots for methylation of Hg in terrestrial environments include thermokarst wetlands, ponds, and lakes. The shallow sub-surface enrichment of MeHg in the Arctic Ocean, in comparison to other marine systems, is a possible explanation for high MeHg concentrations in some Arctic biota. Bioconcentration of aqueous MeHg in bacteria and algae is a critical step in the transfer of Hg to top predators, which may be dampened or enhanced by the presence of organic matter. Variable trophic position has an important influence on MeHg concentrations among populations of top predator species such as ringed seal and polar bear distributed across the circumpolar Arctic. These scientific advances highlight key processes that affect the fate of anthropogenic Hg deposited in Arctic environments.
Highly productive and vulnerable habitats such as maerl and crinoid beds are subject to severe impacts from trawling in Mediterranean Sea. One of the most valuable target species that inhabit these habitats is the red mullet, Mullus barbatus, which can achieve there optimum feeding conditions based on infauna, which can provide some Fatty Acids (FAs) such as Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) that are essential in shaping life history traits such as growth and reproduction. This study is the first one evaluating how habitat type can affect the FA profile of red mullet and that of their prey (infauna). The analysis was carried out in both habitats (maerl and crinoid beds) and compared to muddy bottom, the most common trawl fishing ground. In red mullet muscle from maerl or crinoid beds, we observed a higher concentration of PUFAs omega 3 and omega 6 such as C22:6n-3 (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA), C18:3n-3 (alfa-linolenic acid, ALA) or C18:2n-6 (linoleic acid) than in muddy bottoms. On the other hand, MUFAs such as C18:1cn-9 (oleic acid) presented higher concentrations in muddy bottoms compared to maerl habitat. Regarding infauna's FAs, there was between 30% and 35% of dissimilarity between maerl and crinoid habitats and muddy habitat respectively. In addition, differences found in infauna's PUFAs concentration were very similar to the differences found in M. barbatus PUFAs when maerl and crinoid were compared with muddy habitats. Our results support the idea of using FAs as an indicator of the quality and trophic marker of productive and sensitive benthic habitats, which can contribute to assess the good environmental status (GES) of these habitats and the goods and services they provide.
High-resolution bathymetry and 3D seismic data along the Cocos Ridge reveal a 245 km2 field of ~1 to 4 km in diameter seafloor depressions. The seafloor depressions are part of a two-tiered honeycomb pattern. The lower-tier depressions have steep faults that truncate strata with chaotic internal reflections consistent with sediment collapse into the depression. These extend into a lens shaped interval just above igneous basement. Overlying these depressions is a second broader set with rough seafloor morphology with gently dipping boundaries defined by pinch-out stratigraphic patterns. Drilling results indicate that the lens-shaped zones that host the deeper depressions represent anomalous regions of high porosity, low velocity, and low density within calcareous rich sediment. Analysis of nannofossils from IODP Site U1414 suggests the collapse structures formed during the late Miocene, whereas the younger shallower depressions likely formed between the early Pliocene and the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary. Geochemical and petrological analysis at Site U1414 suggests that hydrothermal circulation during the late Miocene led to carbonate dissolution and collapse. Following collapse, focused fluid-flow and bottom current scouring resulted in formation of the overlying set of depressions and a honeycomb seafloor morphology. Similar sets of depressions along the Carnegie Ridge to the south support the hypothesis that two-tiered depressions formed in response to processes that occurred broadly across the Panama Basin between the late Miocene and the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition. Geochemical results at Site U1414, combined with geophysical data, suggest this two-tiered system of depressions currently guides ongoing fluid outflow.
The accurate delimitation of species boundaries in non-bilaterian marine taxa is notoriously difficult, with consequences for many studies in ecology and evolution. Anthozoans are a diverse group of key structural organisms worldwide, but the lack of reliable morphological characters and informative genetic markers hampers our ability to understand species diversification. We investigated population differentiation and species limits in Atlantic (Iberian Peninsula) and Mediterranean lineages of the octocoral genus Paramuricea previously identified as P. clavata. We used a diverse set of molecular markers (microsatellites, RNA-seq derived single-copy orthologues [SCO] and mt-mutS [mitochondria]) at 49 locations. Clear segregation of Atlantic and Mediterranean lineages was found with all markers. Species-tree estimations based on SCO strongly supported these two clades as distinct, recently diverged sister species with incomplete lineage sorting, P. cf. grayi and P. clavata, respectively. Furthermore, a second putative (or ongoing) speciation event was detected in the Atlantic between two P. cf. grayi colour morphotypes (yellow and purple) using SCO and supported by microsatellites. While segregating P. cf. grayi lineages showed considerable geographic structure, dominating circalittoral communities in southern (yellow) and western (purple) Portugal, their occurrence in sympatry at some localities suggests a degree of reproductive isolation. Overall, our results show that previous molecular and morphological studies have underestimated species diversity in Paramuricea occurring in the Iberian Peninsula, which has important implications for conservation planning. Finally, our findings validate the usefulness of phylotranscriptomics for resolving evolutionary relationships in octocorals.
An interesting evolutionary question that still remains open is the connectivity between marine populations. Marine currents can favour the dispersal of larvae or adults, but they can also produce eddies and gyres generating oceanographic fronts, thus limiting gene flow. To address this subject, we selected the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition, where several fronts are located: Gibraltar Strait (GS), Almeria-Oran Front (AOF) and Ibiza Channel (IC). Seven populations of the marine crab Liocarcinus depurator (Cadiz, West and East Alboran, Alacant, Valencia, Ebro Delta and North Catalonia) located along this transition were analysed in six consecutive years (2014–2019) using a fragment of the COI ( Cytochrome Oxidase subunit I ) gene. All sequences (966) belonged to two well defined haplogroups: ATL (most abundant in Atlantic waters) and MED (predominant in Mediterranean waters). Following a geographic variation, the frequency of ATL decreased significantly from Cadiz to North Catalonia. However, this variation presented steps due to the effect of oceanographic restrictions/fronts. Significant effects were recorded for GS (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019), AOF (all years except 2018) and IC (2016). The intensity and precise location of these fronts changed over time. Multivariate analyses distinguished three main population groups: Cadiz, Alboran Sea and the remaining Mediterranean populations. These findings could be relevant to properly define Marine Protected Areas and for conservation and fisheries policies.
This paper investigates basic reproductive parameters, ecology and population structure of the common cuttlefish. A total of 1217 individuals were sampled monthly from both the offshore bottom trawl and the inshore trammel net fishery off the Mallorca Island (western Mediterranean) during 2017–2019. Mean size of individuals and sex-ratio differed between depths, with males and females being more abundant inshore and offshore waters respectively. The estimated size at first maturity (L 50 ) was 87 mm for females and 78 mm for males. S. officinalis has a continuous reproduction throughout the year with a spawning peak between March and June, and the temporal distribution of maturity stages by sex reflected the precocious maturation of males. Ovary development analysis showed an asynchronous oocyte development and a mean total fecundity of 158 ± 14 eggs/female. The stomach fullness was found to decrease during reproductive development while the vacuity index followed the opposite trend, indicating a lessening of the feeding activity during gonadal growth for both sexes. The feeding activity was higher in females compared to males, which was probably related to the higher energetic cost associated with reproduction. While the digestive gland index (DGI) in females did not decrease during the course of sexual maturation, depleted values of DGI were observed in spawning males reflecting sexual differences in allocation strategy at this stage. Those results suggested that common cuttlefish fulfil the cost of reproduction through both current food intake and accumulated somatic reserves.
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