The southern Australian whelk, Dicathais orbita, is a potential candidate for aquaculture, as both seafood and for bioactive compound production. Larval rearing experiments to determine the effects of temperature and diet on the growth and survival of D. orbita larvae under laboratory conditions comprised five different unicellular algal diets of two brown algal species; Isochysis galbana and Chaetoceros muelleri, two green algae; Tetraselmis seucica and Nannochloropsis oculata, and a mixture of all four strains for larvae maintained at 16 and 22°C. Absolute growth, specific growth rate (SGR) and survival were determined regularly. Larvae reared at 22°C on a mixed diet, or brown algae, performed significantly better than those reared on green algal diets alone. Preliminary trials with settlement cues were undertaken on different aged larvae to determine when larvae become competent. An array of natural cues (carrion, Xenostrobus pulex, adult mucus and Ulvella lens), as well as concentrations of KCl was tested. KCl(concentration of 20 mM) induced the greatest settlement, however, no larvae metamorphosed under the conditions provided. This study confirms long-lived planktotrophic larval development for Dicathais orbita with higher development rates at the higher water temperatures. Further studies will optimize culture conditions and cues for settlement and metamorphosis.
Noble, WJ, Benkendorff, K & Harris, JO 2015, 'Growth, settlement and survival of Dicathais orbita (Neogastropoda, Mollusca) larvae in response to temperature, diet and settlement cues', Aquaculture Research, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 1455-1468.
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