Journal article Open Access

First description of polyp bailout in cold-water octocorals under aquaria maintenance

Rakka, Maria; Bilan, Meri; Godinho, António; Movilla, Juancho; Orejas, Covadonga; Carreiro-Silva, Marina

Cnidarians, characterized by high levels of
plasticity, exhibit remarkable mechanisms to withstand or
escape unfavourable conditions including reverse development
which describes processes of transformation of
adult stages into early developmental stages with higher
mobility. Polyp bailout is a stress-escape response common
among scleractinian species, consisting of massive
detachment of live polyps and subsequent death of the
mother colony. Here, we describe two cases of polyp
bailout in the cold-water octocoral species Acanthogorgia
armata and Acanella arbuscula. During maintenance in
aquaria, specimens of both species presented coenosarc
withdrawal and loss of sclerites, followed by detachment of
intact polyps. This is a strong indication of reverse development
which can be a very important strategy under stress
conditions an

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