Egg-laying hormone (ELH) is a neuropeptide hormone that stimulates ovulation of gastropods, including Aplysia californica and Lymnaea stagnalis. Other neuropeptides, gonadotropin releasing hormones (GnRHs), also play important roles in controlling reproduction in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the current study, the effects of abalone ELH (aELH) and several GnRHs on somatic growth, sex differentiation, gonad maturation, and spawning of Haliotis asinina were investigated in 3 experiments. In experiment 1, groups of 4-mo-old juveniles (11.8 ± 0.03 mm shell length (SL) and 0.33 ± 0.04 g body weight (BW)) were injected with aELH and GnRHs, including buserelin (mammalian GnRH analogue), octopus GnRH (octGnRH), and tunicate GnRH-I (tGnRH-I), at doses of 20 ng/g BW and 200 ng/g BW. The aELH induced early sex differentiation with a bias toward females, but with normal somatic growth, whereas the different isoforms of GnRH had no effect on sexual differentiation or somatic growth. In experiment 2, groups of 1-y-old-abalone (SL, 4.04 ± 0.02 cm; BW, 20.15 ± 0.25 g) were injected with aELH and the 3 isoforms of GnRH including buserelin, octGnRH, and lamprey GnRH (IGnRH-I) at doses of 500 ng/g BW and 1,000 ng/g BW, and all produced stimulatory effects. For each peptide treatment, the gonads reached full maturation within 5–6 wk and spawning occurred, whereas control groups took 8 wk to reach maturity. In experiment 3, injections of ripe abalone with aELH stimulated spawning of both sexes in a dose-dependent manner. Buserelin had a lesser effect on inducing spawning, and octGnRH had no apparent effect. The gametes released from induced spawnings by aELH and GnRH showed normal fertilization and development of larvae. Altogether, these findings provide further knowledge on manipulating abalone reproduction, which is important in improving abalone aquaculture.
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Vol. 29 • No. 3