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Photoperiodic control of growth and segment proliferation by Nereis (Neanthes) virens in relation to state of maturity and season

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kim Last, Emeritus Professor Peter Olive


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The effects of two fixed photoperiodic regimes on the rate of somatic growth and segment proliferation in the semelparous polychaete Nereis (Neanthes) virens Sars has been investigated. The two photoperiods (16 h light:8 h dark and 8 h light: 16 h dark, hereafter LD 16:8 and LD 8:16) were close to the extremes experienced naturally by N. (N.) virens in the course of a year. The experiments were carried out during the ambient winter and all worms (including four-setiger larvae raised out of season) showed elevated feeding, growth and enhanced segment-proliferation rates when reared under LD 16:8, compared to worms reared under LD 8:16. The rate of replacement of lost segments after caudal ablation was also higher under LD 16:8. The number of segments present when the segment proliferation rate had fallen to zero was higher in individuals grown from birth under LD 16:8 compared to those grown under LD 8:16. Feeding activity showed a degree of spontaneous recovery under LD 8:16 from January onwards, but remained lower than under LD 16:8. This difference continued into the following spring, and was not attributable to differences in sexual maturity. We conclude that the rate of feeding in N. (N.) virens and other indicators of somatic growth rate such as rates of caudal regeneration and segment proliferation are directly influenced by the photoperiod, but that the seasonal cycle of growth also includes a circa-annual component modifying the response to static photoperiods according to the time of year.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Last KS; Olive PJW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Biology

Year: 1999

Volume: 134

Issue: 1

Pages: 191-199

Print publication date: 01/06/1999

ISSN (print): 0025-3162

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1793

Publisher: Springer-Verlag


DOI: 10.1007/s002270050537


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