Annual rhythmicity in the switching of reproductive mode in planarians

Hanae Nodono, Midori Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Species of planarians include both asexually reproducing individuals (reproduce through fission and regeneration) and sexually reproducing individuals (hermaphrodites that mate to produce cocoons). While some individuals can switch between the asexual and sexual modes of reproduction. In this study, we examined the reproductive modes and ploidy of Dugesia japonica and Dugesia ryukyuensis from three spring wells in Okinawa (Japan) during two consecutive years. D. japonica are mostly asexual and triploid. In contrast, only 40 % of D. ryukyuensis are asexual and triploid; the remaining are sexual, and diploid or triploid. The sexually reproductive season of D. ryukyuensis is winter. In July, the reproductive organs disappear, and the individuals start asexual reproduction through fission and regeneration. In January of the following year, the individuals develop ovaries and necessary reproductive organs and start sexual reproduction. When these species were lab-reared for a longer period, the reproductive cycles in three strains were repeated for three years. These results confirm that D. ryukyuensis population in Okinawa switches between reproductive modes on an annual cycle, even when kept under constant temperature and no light/dark cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126053
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec


  • Annual rhythm
  • Flatworm
  • Ploidy
  • Reproductive strategy
  • Sexual mode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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