Perinereis nuntia is a fully segmented worm with complete intersegmental septa. A previous study of females revealed that germ cells of this animal originate in the tail end segment, called the pygidium. Germ cells were duplicated in the pygidium, transferred to a newly generated segment, and then settled in the parapodia. Within each segment, the settled germ cells proliferated in the parapodia and then migrated into a body cavity area to begin meiotic development. Currently, there is not much information about differences between male and female germ cell development. Therefore, we conducted monthly in situ hybridization analyses using the germ cell marker Pn-piwi and histological examinations. Germ cells detected by Pn-piwi initially settled in the distal areas of the parapodia on both sides of each segment, then formed a large germ cell cluster in each parapodium, and finally, small germ cell clusters were formed by the separation of the large clusters. The small clusters migrated to the deeper body cavity area during growth by segment addition. Until the female germ cells began vitellogenesis, the sex of germ cells could not be identified by morphological observation. Thus, male and female P. nuntia may have the same mechanism of germ cell provision to all segments. At the time of spawning, sperm were released from nephridiopores at the 2nd through 15th segments from the pygidium, while eggs were released through ruptures in the skin of 2–3 segments between the 10th and 30th segments from the tail.
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Vol. 37 • No. 6