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Laboratory culture of the nudibranch tritonia diomedea tritoniidae opisthobranchia and some aspects of its behavioral development



Laboratory culture of the nudibranch tritonia diomedea tritoniidae opisthobranchia and some aspects of its behavioral development



Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 30(3): 261-276



T. diomedea was reared from oviposition, through metamorphosis to reproductive maturity in the laboratory. The larvae of T. diomedea are planktotrophic and undergo considerable shell growth (from 144.6-329 .mu.m average maximum shell length). Metamorphosis does not require induction, but there may be a preference to metamorphose in the presence of the probable adult prey, a small Virgularia sp. Larvae in cultures fed no food, Dunaliella tertiolecta Butcher, Isochrysis galbana Parke, or Monochrysis lutheri Droop did not achieve metamorphic competence at near ambient sea-water temperature (11.9 .+-. 1.3 and 13.0 .+-. 0.8.degree. C). Larvae from cultures fed Monochrysis at room temperature (20.8 .+-. 1.5.degree. C) or fed a 1:1 mixture of Isochrysis and Monochrysis at near ambient sea-water temperatures metamorphosed. Even so, only those larvae fed the 1:1 mixture survived more than a few days following metamorphosis. Adult behavioral patterns developed gradually, feeding being first observed at 5 days, swimming in response to NaCl crystals at about 60 days, copulation at about 272 days, and oviposition at about 277 days after metamorphosis. Growth rates were determined for field collected T. diomedea; smaller animals gained and lost weight relatively faster than larger animals.

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