• oogenesis;
  • zona pellucida;
  • micropyle;
  • delle;
  • viviparity;
  • killifish;
  • Atherinomorpha


The cyprinodontiform family Goodeidae comprises two biogeographically disjunct subfamilies: the viviparous Goodeinae endemic to the Mexican Plateau, and the oviparous Empetrichthyinae, known only from relict taxa in Nevada and California. Ovarian characteristics of two oviparous species of goodeid, Crenichthys baileyi and Empetrichthys latos, studied using museum collections, are compared with those of viviparous species of goodeids. Both subfamilies have a single, cystovarian ovary. The ovary in the viviparous Goodeinae has an internal septum that divides the ovarian lumen into two compartments, and it may possess oogonia. There is no ovarian septum in the oviparous C. baileyi and E. latos. Oogenesis is similar in both subfamilies with regard to the proliferation of oogonia, initiation of meiosis, primary growth and development of an oocyte during secondary growth in which fluid yolk progressively fuses into a single globule. Notably, eggs of C. baileyi and E. latos are approximately double the size of those of the viviparous Goodeinae in which embryos develop inside the ovarian lumen and are nourished, in part, by nutrients transferred from the maternal tissues, a mode of embryo development called matrotrophy. Egg envelopes of the two subfamilies differ in that those of C. baileyi and E. latos have a relatively thick zona pellucida, attachment fibrils or filaments that develop between the follicle cells during oogenesis, and a micropyle observed only in E. latos. In contrast, viviparous goodeid eggs have a relatively thin zona pellucida, but lack adhesive fibrils, and a micropyle was not observed. These reproductive characters are compared with those of species of the eastern North American Fundulus, a representative oviparous cyprinodontiform. One newlyrecognized shared, derived character, a single, median ovoid ovary with no obvious external evidence of fusion, supports monophyly of the Goodeidae. Differences among the goodeid subfamilies and Fundulus are interpreted relative to the oviparous versus viviparous modes of reproduction. J. Morphol., 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.