Variability in larval development of the tropical reef fish Pomacentrus amboinensis (Pomacentridae): the parental legacy
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The effects of food availability, female size, and social interactions on the quality of Pomacentrus amboinensis larvae at hatching were examined using two field-based experiments. In Experiment 1, food availability and female size significantly influenced size, eye diameter and levels of yolk reserves of larvae at hatching. Small females (47 to 52 mm standard length, SL) whose diets were not supplemented, produced the longest larvae (3.0 ± 0.01 mm total length, TL) with the least yolk reserves (50.1 ± 1.04 μm2). Irrespective of female size, those that received additional food produced larvae with the largest yolk-sacs (large females: 87.60 ± 1.53 μm2; small females: 80.14 ± 1.24 μm2). In Experiment 2, interactions with conspecifics had a greater affect on the somatic development of larvae at hatching than food availability. Increased social interactions resulted in larvae that were ⋍3% longer, with 2% greater head depth, than larvae from females that spawned in isolation on the experimental reefs. Fed females produced larvae with ⋍20% more yolk than larvae from females whose diets were not supplemented. All three factors (food availability, female size, and intensity of social interactions) tested within these experiments vary spatially and temporally among reefs. There is the potential, therefore, for larvae at the onset of the planktonic stage to vary in quality, level of development, and probability of survival.
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