Reproduction in Cephalopod Lophotrochozoans

The two distinct characteristics of the members belonging to the clade Lophotrochozoa is the presence of a feeding structure known as lophophore, which appears like a crown made up of cilia surrounding the mouth region, and the trochophore larvae which is the developmental stage. Sexual dimorphism is observed in this category of animals. Reproduction happens when the species mate, after which the eggs are laid by the female in a protected and safe environment. The females take care of the eggs for a long period and might also die from this process. They also use quick getaways to attack the predators targeting the eggs. Dark ink thrown by the squids is one best example of this. However, in cephalopods, the reproduction is different when compared to the mollusks. This is because the egg hatches to generate the young adult without passing through the stages of larva and trochophore.

Cephalopods comprise different varieties of species that possess the same evolutionary pattern and life history. For example- they have a very short life span but an increased growth rate. In the year 1992, Stearns explained that to generate the maximum number of living offspring, the cephalopods use spawning events based on the environmental conditions where the organisms are surviving. However, most of the cephalopods do not normally provide full-time parental care, except the octopus. This causes an increase in the survival period and rate of these young ones. The life cycle of marine animals is often altered by a change in environmental conditions. The development of the embryo of a cephalopod is impacted by the changes in oxygen, temperature, pollution, light, and salinity. These factors are essential to increase the reproduction rate as well as the survival rate of the young ones from hatching. Spawning can also differ from animal to animal among the marine species. This is because it is associated with the temperature despite the cephalopods spawn in the colder months in the shallow water. This causes the eggs to hatch in the warmer conditions. Breeding usually is carried out for several days or sometimes even months. Apart from temperature, food availability also impacts the entire reproductive cycle of these animals. If there are limitations in the availability of food, the spawning function and the time of spawning might be affected in turn affecting the growth of the offspring.

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Reproduction through protozoa in lophotrochozoans:
Animals belonging to this category are protostomes. The mouth is the first one to develop even before the anus in the young embryo. They are known to have been recognized as a group together. The majority of the members of this group have a worm-like structure. However, many are not familiar and not present commonly. The two large groups of trochozoans are the Annelida and the Mollusca. It was initially strange to group the squid and the earthworms together. This is because they do not look similar. However, this is true only when they are in their adult form. There are certain fundamental features that they have in common. The majority of the mollusks and annelids have a similar pattern of development in their initial embryonic stages. Upon hatching of all the larvae, every minute microscopic swimmer has named trochophore larvae. These structures contain two cilia bands around the middle that they utilize for swimming and ingestion of the food. The top portion of their body contains a cluster of long flagellates. The larval forms are all identical. However, they are quite different when they mature into adults. Until the recent days, crustaceans and insects were considered to have a close association with Annelida as they both were segmented. However, it turned out that arthropods do not contain trochophore larva and there is no molecular research of the same.

Other ways of reproduction:
There are various ways of reproduction followed by cephalopods and is very unique compared to the that is the mollusks. The sexes usually remain separate and mating happens as a courtship that includes detailed color changes. A movement of sperm later follows this from the male to the female via the mantle opening in the female. The penis or the arm modification of the male called hectocotylus transfers the spermatophore. Large yolky eggs are laid by the females in the form of clusters on the floor of the oceans or any hard substrate. Unlike mollusks that have eggs that spiral divide, the eggs develop unequal division. After the young ones develop inside the egg, they hatch out fully developed unlike the swimming larvae stage of the mollusks. After spawning, the majority of the females and males die.

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