Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 2 (2012)

The annual cycle of oogenesis in the shanny, Lipophrys pholis (Pisces: Blenniidae)

Filipa Ferreira
CIMAR/CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Portugal

Miguel M. Santos
CIMAR/CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto - Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, Portugal

Maria Armanda Reis-Henriques
CIMAR/CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Portugal

Natividade M. Vieira
CIMAR/CIIMAR – Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto - Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto, Portugal

Nuno M. Monteiro
CIBIO, Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources - CEBIMED, Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde da Universidade Fernando Pessoa, Portugal


Lipophrys pholis has been shown to be responsive to a variety of environmental contaminants, some of them able to impair reproduction. Description of the normal cycle of oogenesis of this newly proposed sentinel species is important since this data may function as a baseline for comparison in ecotoxicological studies, among other applications. Based on histological observations, L. pholis ovarian development in adult is asynchronous, and 7 ovarian germ cells can be described (oogonia, early and late perinuclear oocytes, cortical-alveolar oocytes, early vitellogenic oocytes, vitellogenic oocytes and spawning oocytes). Using a stereological approach together with the morphologic characteristics of ovarian cells, the ovarian cycle of L. pholis was divided into 3 maturation stages: early oogenesis (May); mid-oogenesis (September), and spawning (November to January). Ovarian cell proportions and gonadosomatic index confirmed that the reproductive period of L. pholis near the southern limit of distribution of the species occurs during cold-water periods, between November and May. The collected data will help to fill some of the gaps in information that still exist on L. pholis oogenesis, thus allowing a better integration of this species as a sentinel for the detection of contaminants in European coastal waters.


Lipophrys pholis; sentinel species; intertidal; oogenesis; gonadal development

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