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Growth and metamorphosis of Aplysia oculifera larvae in laboratory culture

Abstract

Eggs of Aplysia oculifera (Adams and Reeve, 1850) were incubated in the laboratory. They hatched 8 to 9 d after spawning. Shell length (SL) of the hatched larvae was 102±2 μm. Larvae were fed on the unicellular algae Isochrysis galbana in a concentration of 104 cell ml-1, and after 45 to 60 d grew to a maximum SL of 385±11 μm. Larvae survived up to 330 d. A total of 12 species of algae from the natural habitat of A. oculifera were examined as metamorphosis inducers. Red algae Dasia sp., Jania sp., Hypnea sp. and Liagora sp. induced metamorphosis in 66.7±21.2, 28.3±17.7, 26.0±18.5 and 4.0±8.0% of the larvae, respectively. Green algae Enteromorpha intestinalis and Ulva sp. induced metamorphosis in 37.0±11.0 and 9.0±10.4% of the larvae, respectively. Cladophora sp. and Codium dichotomum, and the brown algae Padina pavonia, Colpomenia sinuosa, Hydroclathrus clathratus and Cystoseira sp. did not induce metamorphosis. There was no significant difference in the rate of metamorphosis between young (2 to 4 mo) and old (6 to 8 mo) larvae. Postmetamorphic juveniles grew and developed only when fed with E. intestinalis. They grew to a body length of>8 mm in 50 d. Postmetamorphic juveniles did not survive on other algae. The longevity of the planktonic A. oculifera larvae supports the hypothesis that the larvae can exist in the plankton and survive for several months until the next recruitment. The advantage of non-specificity in metamorphosis induction is discussed.

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Communicated by O. Kinne, Oldendorf/Luhe

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Plaut, I., Borut, A. & Spira, M.E. Growth and metamorphosis of Aplysia oculifera larvae in laboratory culture. Marine Biology 122, 425–430 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00350875

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Keywords

  • Body Length
  • Green Alga
  • Brown Alga
  • Ulva
  • Shell Length