We examined gametogenesis and the periodicity of planula release in the brooding coral Acropora (Isopora) brueggemanni (Brook, 1893) on Akajima Island, Okinawa, Japan. We captured the moment when A. brueggemanni would be in the process of self-fertilization. Whole colonies of this species were cultured separately or together with other colonies in plastic containers. We observed no apparent periodicity of planula release in the collected colonies. A few planulae were released intermittently during the observation period, regardless of whether the colonies were cultured individually or with other colonies. Serial paraffin sections of A. brueggemanni showed follicle-like cells surrounding the oocyte during vitellogenesis. In September and October, some spermaries looked half-broken and some ova were surrounded by sperm or spermaries instead of follicle-like cells. Such ova were heart-shaped and may have been cells at the first cleavage stage. These observations suggest that the migration of spermaries and/or oocytes resulted in the close proximity of oocytes and sperm, which would allow self-fertilization. This possibility, together with the production of planula larvae by isolated colonies, suggests that this brooding coral engages in self-fertilization.
Acropora (Isopora) brueggemanni