Tropical Seasonality

Eugene D. Gallagher Gallagher at
Mon Nov 18 13:33:02 EST 1996

Alan Eugene Davis wrote:

> I am interested in obtaining information regarding any tropical
> polychaetes in which seasonality of any kind (abundance, distribution,
> and more usually reproductive) has been observed.  I am aware of one
> such instance in Chuuk, E. Caroline Islands, and have observed the
> luminescent epitokes of certain worms (maybe or maybe not a _Palolo_
> sp.) that are associated traditionally with the third night after full
> moon.  Another night of the moon has the same name, so a different
> worm may also be involved.

The classic polychaete with luminescent epitokes that swarm
3 days after the full moon is the Bermudian _Odontosyllis enopla_.
Palolo worms swarm after a 'gibbous moon' (3rd quarter), or so
my old collection of odd papers say (refs below).

Here are some of the refs on Odontosyllis, many dealing with the
timing 3 d after the full moon (Huntsman and Markert et al. are
the classic refs; Daly indicates that the epitoky may be reversible).

Berkeley, E. 1935.  Swarming of _Odontosyllis phosphorea_ Moore
  and of other Polychaeta near Nanaimo, B.C.  Nature 136: 1029.

Crawshay, L. R. 1935. Possible bearing of a luminous syllid on the
  question of the landfall of Columbus.  Nature 136: 559-560.

Daly, J. M. 1975.  Reversible epitoky in the life history of the
  polychaete _Odontosyllis polycera_ (Schmarda 1861). J. mar. Biol.

Fraser, C. M. 1915.  The swarming of Odontosyllis.  Trans. Roy. Soc.
   Can., Ser. III 9: 43-49.

Gidholm, L. 1969.  The role of light in the swarming of the polychaete
   Autolytus.  Zool. Bidr. Upps. 38: 129-135 [Not Odontosyllis, but
   the response to light appears similar]

Goodrich, E. 1933.  Notes on Odontosyllis.  Quarterly Journal of
   Microscopical Science 76: 319-329.

Huntsman, A. G. 1948.  Odontosyllis at Bermuda and lunar periodicity.
   J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can 7: 363-369.

Lummel, L. 1932.  Over lichtende wormpjes in de baai van Bataria.
   Tropische Natuur. (Nederlandsh-Indisch-natur-historisch vereeniging)
   21: 85-87 [On Odontosyllis hyalina]

Markert, R. E., B. J. Markert, and N. J. Vertrees. 1961.  Lunar
   periodicity in spawning and luminescence in _Odontosyllis enopla_.
   Ecology 42: 414-415.

Potts, F. A. 1913.  The swarming of Odontosyllis.  Proc. Cambr. Phil
  Soc. 17: 193-200.

Wilkens, L. A. and J. J. Wolken 1981.  Electroretinograms from
  _Odontosyllis enopla_ (Polychaeta; Syllidae): initial observations
  on the visual system of the bioluminescent fireworm of Bermuda.
  Mar. Behav. Physiol. 8: 55-66.

As I recall, the palolo worm swarms after the 3rd quarter ('the
gibbous moon'), but here are some refs to check it out.  Most are
from the papers of the now defunct Tortugas Lab.  A very nice
librarian at the U. of Washington used to be able to dig these
up for me.

Clark, L. B. and W. N. Hess. 1938.  Swarming of the palolo worm
  (Eunice fucata) under natural conditions with observations of the
  reaction of the free living sexual ends.  Carnegie Institute of
  Washington Yearbook 37: 88.

Clark, L. B. and W. N. Hess.  1940.  Swarming of the Atlantic
   palolo worm, Leodice fucata.  Tortugas Lab Papers 33: 21-70.

Mayer, A. G. 1908.  The annual breeding swarm of the Atlantic
  palolo. Papers from the Tortugas Lab 1: 105-112.

 Eugene D. Gallagher <Gallagher at>

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