The ovarian structure and mode of egg production in two polygamous pipefishes: a link to mating pattern


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In this study, the ovarian structure and mode of egg production were examined in two pipefishes, the broad-nosed pipefish Syngnathus typhle and the straight-nosed pipefish Nerophis ophidion, which show different types of polygamous mating patterns. Syngnathus typhle showed an ovary with one germinal ridge and asynchronous egg production, corresponding to previous findings in other polygamous Syngnathus pipefishes. In contrast, the ovary of N. ophidion had two germinal ridges and eggs were produced synchronously in groups, similar to what has been observed in monogamous syngnathids. The egg production of N. ophidion, however, is clearly distinguished from that of monogamous syngnathids by the additional egg production after an ovulation. It is suggested that the differences in female mating strategies result from the difference in egg production process and that this is related to the difference in mating pattern between these two polygamous species.