Reproductive cycle of Lytechinus variegatus (Echinoidea: Toxopneustidae) in the south of Margarita Island, Venezuela. The sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus is of some commercial importance on the Southern coast of Margarita Island (Venezuela), where artisan women fishers process and sell the roe. The reproduction cycle of this species had not been fully studied. We collected these sea urchins in two stations from November 1997 through October 1998. The samples were transported fresh to the laboratory to determine weight, diameter and height. The sexual stage was established with a macroscopic scale and the gonadosomatic index (GI). Maturity is achieved when the animals reaches a diameter of 22 mm, although 50% of the population reaches sexual development at diameters of 43 mm (males) and 45 mm (females) at Station 1, and 35 mm for both sexes at Station 2. Mature individuals, in a sexual proportion of 1:1 were collected every month. According to the monthly GI variation and frequency (%) of the development stages, on the southern beaches the main reproductive period begins in April and continues through October, and it is most intensive from May to July, when gonads reach the greatest growth. Rev. Biol. Trop. 53(Suppl. 3): 305-312. Epub 2006 Jan 30.
Keywords: Sea urchins, Lytechinus variegatus, reproductive cycle, maturity size