The marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii reproduces by external fertilisation and is semelparous, meaning that it spawns only once in its lifecycle. To maximise reproductive success these worms synchronise their spawning events with the lunar cycle and spawn primarily during new moon (Zantke et al., Cell Reports, 2013). In addition, P. dumerilii exhibit particular swimming behaviours during spawning, which are collectively described as a ‘nuptial dance’. The nuptial dance is initiated by excreted pheremones, stimulating male and female worms to swim in circles around one another and finally release sperm and eggs into the water. The aim is to develop methods that enable 2D tracking of spawning worms from captured video and extract data to quantify specified behaviours.
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