Abstract

 The sea cucumber Holothuria (Halodeima) grisea is a widely distributed and economically important species that has been harvested in Brazil for several years, where there are no studies on its reproduction. We studied a population near Guaratuba Bay in Southern Brazil. Four sampling campaigns were made, in February, April, June and October 2008. We examined the macroscopic and microscopic features of the gonads to describe the gametogenesis. In addition, we analyzed the weight change of body organs. A total of 94 individuals were examined and no evidence of external sexual dimorphism was found. In April there were more males than females. Biometrically the body wall and gonads are the most important organs. The body wall increases in the June and the gonads during October and February; there might be an exchange of energy between these organs. Mature gonads are elongated and thick (red in females, cream in males). There were mature individuals year round, with an increase of sexual activity in February when oocyte mature diameter ranges from 70 to 160 µm. Spawning was in winter (June). Maturation period and body component variations were similar between sexes.

 
Keywords: reproduction, sea cucumber, gonad index, histology, spawning, rocky shore.