Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 381–393

Changes in lipid class and fatty acid composition during development in pike (Esox lucius L) eggs and larvae


  • C. Desvilettes
    • Laboratoire de Zoologie/Protistologie, URA CNRS 1944Université Blaise Pascal
  • G. Bourdier
    • Laboratoire de Zoologie/Protistologie, URA CNRS 1944Université Blaise Pascal
  • J.C. Breton
    • Laboratoire de Biochimie médicaleFaculté de méicine

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007764130651

Cite this article as:
Desvilettes, C., Bourdier, G. & Breton, J. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry (1997) 16: 381. doi:10.1023/A:1007764130651


To establish the changes which occur during embryogenesis and early larval development, eggs, yolk sac larvae and swim-up larvae of pike were examined for lipid class and fatty acid composition. At a water temperature of 15.5°C, the embryonic phase was short (6 days) and characterized by a 41.3% decline in the lipid content of eggs, accompanied by large reductions in the amount of phosphatidylcholine (41.4% decrease), sterol esters and triacylglycerols (respectively a 41.2% decrease and a 58.1% decrease), but not phosphatidylethanolamine which increased markedly (35.6%). By the time of yolk sac absorption (7 to 11 days after fertilization) the larvae remained inactive and a limited utilization of lipids was observed. Yolk sac phosphatidylcholine was selectively incorporated into larval bodies while the levels of other lipid classes remained unchanged in the yolk. When the swim bladder was filled and the swimming stage was reached (11 days to 13 days af), the yolk was completely depleted and yolk phosphatidylcholine together with yolk triacylglycerols were catabolised. Yolk phosphatidylethanolamine and yolk sterol esters were partly incorporated into the body lipids. In the subsequent swim-up larval stage (13 to 15 days af), a steady decrease in lipids was observed (41.6%). Fluctuations in the levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids or saturated fatty acids examined from eggs or larvae were consistent with changes in lipid classes during pike development. During yolk sac absorption, pike incorporated yolk PUFA released on hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine into the larval body. The results are discussed with reference to water temperature and in relation to the ontogenic and ecological context of pike development.

pikeeggslarvaeembryonic developmentfatty acidlipid classtemperature

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997