Marine Biology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 109–119 | Cite as

Development and metamorphosis of the planktotrophic larvae of Rostanga pulchra (Mollusca: Nudibranchia)

  • F. S. Chia
  • R. Koss


Rostanga pulchra MacFarland, a small (1 to 2 cm) dorid nudibranch, lays an average of 7000 eggs in the laboratory during a period of 30 days in the summer. The veligers hatch 15 to 16 days after oviposition and it takes another 35 to 40 days to become competent for metamorphosis at a temperature of 10° to 15°C. Larval cultures were maintained initially at a concentration of 500 veligers per 100 ml of filtered sea water (antibiotics added). During the planktotrophic phase of development, the veliger grows from 150 to 300 μm in shell length. Although the veligers are generalists in their food preference, the best result (faster growth) was achieved by feeding them with a combination of Monochrysis lutheri and Isochrysis galbana. The concentration of food cells was kept at 104 cells per ml of culture media and was supplied every 2 to 3 days. A veliger which is competent to metamorphose is identifiable morphologically by its propodium, eyespots, rhinophores, and spiculated dorsal papillae. The entire metamorphic process lasts 24 h when a suitable substrate such as the food sponge Ophlitaspongia pennata is provided. The competent veliger is able to delay metamorphosis for at least 3 weeks. Juveniles were kept in the laboratory for 70 days and, during this period, grew to a length of 4.5 mm.


Sponge Fast Growth Mollusca Shell Length Food Preference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Atwood, D.G., B.J. Crawford and G.D. Braybrook: A technique for processing mucous coated marine invertebrate spermatozoa for scanning electron microscopy. J. Microscopy 103, 259–264 (1974)Google Scholar
  2. Bonar, D.B. and M.G. Hadfield: Metamorphosis of the marine gastropod Phestilla sibogae Bergh (Nudibranchia: Aeolidacea). I. Light and electron microscope analysis of larval and metamorphic stages. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 16, 227–255 (1974)Google Scholar
  3. Chia, F.S., D.G. Atwood and B. Crawford: Comparative morphology of echinoderm sperm and possible phylogenetic implications. Am. Zool. 15, 553–565 (1975)Google Scholar
  4. Cook, E.T.: A study of the food choices of two opisthobranchs, Rostanga pulchra MacFarland and Archidoris montereyensis (Cooper). Veliger 4, 194–196 (1962)Google Scholar
  5. Crisp, D.J.: Factors influencing the settlement of marine invertebrate larvae. In: Chemoreception in marine organisms, pp 177–265. Ed. by P.T. Grant and A.M. Mackie. New York: Academic Press 1974Google Scholar
  6. Fretter, V. and M.C. Montgomery: The treatment of food by prosobranch veligers. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 48, 499–520 (1968)Google Scholar
  7. Hadfield, M.G.: The biology of nudibranch larvae. Oikos 14, 85–95 (1963)Google Scholar
  8. — and R.H. Karlson: Externally induced metamorphosis in a marine gastropod. Am. Zool. 9, p. 1122 (1969)Google Scholar
  9. Harris, L.G.: Nudibranch associations. In: Current topics in comparative pathobiology, pp 77–90. Ed. by T.C. Cheng. New York: Academic Press 1973Google Scholar
  10. —: Studies on the life history of two coral-eating nudibranchs of the genus Phestilla. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 149, 539–550 (1975)Google Scholar
  11. Hurst, A.: The egg masses and veligers of thirty Northeast Pacific opisthobranchs. Veliger 9, 255–288 (1967)Google Scholar
  12. MacFarland, F.M.: A preliminary account of the Doridae of Monterey Bay, California. Proc. biol. Soc. Wash. 18, 35–54 (1905)Google Scholar
  13. Marcus, E.: Opisthobranch molluscs from California. Veliger 3, 1–85 (1961)Google Scholar
  14. Paulson, T.C. and R.S. Scheltema: Selective feeding on algal cells by the veliger larvae of Nassarius obsoletus. (Gastropoda, Prosobranchia). Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 134, 481–489 (1968)Google Scholar
  15. Scheltema, R.S.: Biological interactions determining larval settlement of marine invertebrates. Thalassia jugosl. 10, 263–278 (1976)Google Scholar
  16. Storch, V. und U. Welch: Über Bau und Funktion der Nudibranchier-Rhinophoren. Z. Zellforsch. 97, 528–536 (1969)Google Scholar
  17. Thompson, T.E.: The natural history, embryology, larval biology and postlarval development of Adalaria proxima (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia). Phil. Trans. R. Soc. (Ser. B) 242, 1–58 (1958)Google Scholar
  18. —: The importance of the larval shell in the classification of the Sacoglossa and the Acoela (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia). Proc. malac. Soc. Lond. 34, 233–238 (1961)Google Scholar
  19. —: Studies on the reproduction of Archidoris pseudoargus (Rapp.) (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia). Phil. Trans. R. Soc. (Ser. B) 250, 343–375 (1966)Google Scholar
  20. —: Direct development in a nudibranch, Cadlina laevis, with a discussion on developmental processes in opisthobranchia. J. mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 47, 1–22 (1967)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. S. Chia
    • 1
  • R. Koss
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

Personalised recommendations