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In rhe echiuran Bonellia viridis the green pigment first develops in the gastrula, before the formation of the trochal rings, and the trochophores acquire a deep green pigmentation before hatching. Eggs that were cultured under continuous illumination (2000–4000 lx) did not develop any green pigment, and although the trochophores hatched normally, they lacked pigment entirely. The unpigmented trochophores that were kept under continuous illumination developed into unpigmented males and females. The far-blue (380–400 nm) and red (620–640 nm) regions were more effective in preventing pigment development than the blue, green and yellow regions of the spectrum. Illumination of the eggs before the gastrula stage did not affect the development of pigment when these were subsequently returned to the dark. When unpigmented trochophores, that had been cultured in the light, were placed in the dark they acquired a slight pigmentation, but this was much less intense than that of trochophores that had been cultured in the dark throughout. Pigmented trochophores were more vulnerable to high light intensities than unpigmented ones.