The postlarval phase is an essential period in the life history of marine invertebrates; vulnerable to high mortality, it ultimately influences the distribution and abundance of adult populations. In the deep NE Atlantic, a large number of postlarval ophiuroids have been found during certain times of the year, but their identification is difficult. The present work describes the ontogenesis of 12 post-metamorphic shallow-water or deep-sea ophiuroids from samples collected during the Biofar and Rockall Trough Programmes in the NE Atlantic Ocean. Analysis of the postlarval development reveals that species can be identified from a very early post-metamorphic phase using particular morphological characters. The ontogeny of homologous structures reveals similarities within related groups. However, at the same time, these structures give rise to different adult structures in different taxa. Data on the postlarval development of Ophiura affinis suggest that this species is more closely related to the genus Ophiocten and a change in generic status is proposed. (C) 1998 The Linnean Society London.
|Number of pages||34|
|Journal||ZOOL J LINN SOC-LOND|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|