Energy depletion of embryos and yolk-sac feeding larvae of the liparid snailfish Careproctus pallidus (Vaillant 1888)

  • Daniel O. BrunoEmail author
  • Javier H. Rojo
  • Claudia C. Boy
Short Note


The snailfish, Careproctus pallidus, is a liparid fish that spawns within the branchial chambers of the king crab Lithodes santolla and develops its embryonic stages inside the chambers until it forms a well-developed free-living yolk-sac feeding larvae hatch. The aim of this work was to explore the decrease in energy content of C. pallidus during its early development. Five egg masses with embryos in cleavage stage were extracted from the branchial chambers of five different king crabs and kept in aquaria through hatching until complete absorption of the yolk-sac. To monitor energy content during development, subsamples of eggs (in cleavage, tail-bud, and late embryo stages) and larvae [1, 13, 20–22 and 24–26 days post-hatch (DPH)] were removed. Each stage of development (eggs and larvae) was weighed (wet weight), counted (N) and dried at 60°C. Both energy density (ED) and energy content (EC) per individual (egg or larva) were measured. Significant differences in ED and ECi were observed among the early stages of C. pallidus, although pairwise comparisons differed. From the earliest developmental stage (cleavage) to a larva of 24–26 DPH, the ED of C. pallidus decreased by approximately 40% and the ECi by 87%. Compared with other marine fish species, C. pallidus seems to begin life with lower energy if size of egg, incubation period, and degree of development until it reached the hatching stage are considered. Thus, the energy allocation during the early development of this liparid fish with a particular reproductive strategy is discussed.


Energy content Snailfish Ontogeny Beagle channel 



We are grateful to C.P. Alonso, M. Torres, O. Florentín, H. Sacristán, and P. Di Salvatore for providing the eggs’ masses extracted from the branchial chambers of Lithodes santolla specimens. We also thank Dieter Piepenburg and two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on an earlier draft, which greatly improved this work. This study was supported by grants from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET-Argentina), PIP 0440 2016–2018; and the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT-FONCyT, Argentina), PICT 1804/2014 and PICT 0900/2015.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All sampling procedures and experimental manipulations follow the guidelines approved by the Universidad de Buenos Aires from Argentina (Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Bioterio Central,

Supplementary material

300_2019_2500_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología, Fisiología y Evolución de Organismos Acuáticos (LEFyE)Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC-CONICET)UshuaiaArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Ciencias Polares, Ambiente y Recursos NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego (ICPA-UNTDF)UshuaiaArgentina

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