The gametogenic biology is described for seven species of gastropod from hydrothermal vents in the East Pacific and from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Species of the limpet genus Lepetodrilus (Family Lepetodrilidae) had a maximum unfertilized oocyte size of <90 μm and there was no evidence of reproductive periodicity or spatial variation in reproductive pattern. Individuals showed early maturity with females undergoing gametogenesis at less than one third maximum body size. There was a power relationship between shell length and fecundity, with a maximum of ∼1,800 oocytes being found in one individual, although individual fecundity was usually <1,000. Such an egg size might be indicative of planktotrophic larval development, but there was never any indication of shell growth in larvae from species in this genus. Cyathermia naticoides (Family Neomphalidea) had a maximum oocyte size of ∼120 μm and a fecundity of <400 oocytes per individual. Rhynchopelta concentrica (Family Peltospiridae) had a maximum oocyte size of 184 μm and a fecundity <600, whereas in Eulepetopsis vitrea (Family Neolepetopsidae) maximum oocyte size was 232 μm with a fecundity of <200 oocytes per individual. In none of these three species was there any indication of episodicity in oocyte production. From our observations we support the paradigm that there is no reproductive pattern typical of vent systems but is more related to species' phylogeny.
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Vol. 27 • No. 1