Preliminary Data on the Meroplanktonic Larvae of Polychaeta in the Noumea Lagoon, South-Western New Caledonia

Michel Bhaud

Abstract


This paper presents preliminary data on Polychaeta Annelida larvae from a coral reef Lagoon in thearea of Noumea, New-Caledonia. Larval plankton is revealed as a good tool for faunistic investigations. A detailed survey of benthic communities should produce as a consequence, sampling of new species for the area: 7 species of Spionidae, 3 Chaetopteridae and 1 Sabellariidae. The advantages offered by such a geographically discrete area for the study of larval spreading are discussed.The use of 4 indices (number of species, number of individuals, diversity index and equitability) allow specification of the distance of the larval population sampled from its origin. Size comparisons between taxons sampled inside and outside the lagoon show that length of planktonic larval life is not an absolute parameter but is a function of external circumstances linked with water currents which reduce the tendancy of the larvae to settle with the sediment.With regard to seasonal variations of larval appearance in the plankton,this area is not characterized by two groups of species, each having its own reproductive period,as it isunder temperate latitudes, but by only one group; the center of the reproductive period being adjusted to March and April.


Keywords


Annelida; lagoon; larvae; New Caledonia; Polychaeta; seasonal variation; settlement; spreading

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