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Keywords:

  • adhesiveness;
  • developmental changes;
  • embryonic development;
  • functional properties;
  • micropyle;
  • S.E.M

The envelope surface ultrastructure and specific gravity of artificially fertilized eggs of the Pacific cod Gadus macrocephalus were examined. The unfertilized, demersal and slightly adhesive eggs of G. macrocephalus were almost spherical and had no oil globules. Wrinkled envelope surface with elaborated hexagonal reticulated patterns and type I micropyle were observed under a scanning electron microscope. The adhesiveness of the eggs was lost at the blastodermal-cap stage after fertilization. The micropylar canal was sealed by secretion of the perivitelline fluid, and the entire surface became rough. Numerous bacilli were deposited at the micropyle and the outer envelope surface at the late germ-ring stage and at the embryo five-eighths around the yolk stage. The micropyle was completely deformed at the embryo seven-eighths around the yolk stage. The specific gravity of the fertilized G. macrocephalus eggs ranged from c. 1·0316 to 1·0454. These values, however, sharply decreased towards the end stages of egg development to produce pelagic larvae. The ultrastructural changes in the micropyle and envelope surface of the G. macrocephalus eggs protected the embryo from microorganism infections and mechanical stress during the long incubation period. The adhesiveness and specific gravity of the eggs influenced their dispersion potential.