Most corals undergo spawning after a particular moon phase, but how moon-related spawning is endogenously regulated in corals remains unknown. The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether dopamine (DA) affects spawning in Acropora tenuis. When pieces of four A. tenuis colonies were reared under a natural photoperiod and water temperature, spawning was observed after the predicted moon phase. After exposure to water containing DA at 0.1 μM, pieces of the same colonies only released 5 to 10 bundles. Co-treatment with DA and pimozide (D1 and D2 receptors antagonist), but not domperidone (D2 receptor antagonist), induced mass release of bundles from the colonies. A cross-experiment revealed high fertilization rates between the control colonies (95%) and between the control and DA-treated colonies (90%), suggesting that gametes developed normally in coral tissue. Therefore, DA appears to have an inhibitory effect on the spawning of A. tenuis.
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