Successful commercial aquaculture production of spiny lobster is, for the most part, still constrained by an array challenges including the development of nutritionally complete and cost-effective feeds, control of disease vectors, and the design of larval mass culture tanks. Culture tank designs for larval production are a critical step to facilitating the most favorable combinations of water flow, food contact, and larval survivorship over the course of development. The evolution of new plankton-kreisels that are used by aquariums to culture and exhibit gelatinous zooplankton (e.g., jellyfish) provide a unique opportunity for testing the feasibility for spiny lobster larval culture, particularly with tropical species such as Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) whose larval duration, although complex, is comparatively shorter than other spiny lobsters. Here, we report on the feasibility of culturing P. argus larvae (i.e., phyllosoma) from hatch to Stage VI using large (180 L) modified acrylic plankton-kreisels. We compared overall growth and survival of phyllosoma at starting densities of 5000 (~27.8 larvae L -1) and 2500 individuals (~13.8 larvae L -1) and found no significant difference with respect to survival or mortality through to 65 days (χ 2 = 1.595; df = 1; p = 0.2066) resulting in mean survival rates of 60.7% (s.e. = ±3.7) and 54.5% (s.e. = ±3.2), respectively. Comparable growth was also achieved between both densities to Stages V and VI (mean body lengths of 7.5 and 10.2 mm, respectively) at 25.1 ± 0.41 °C and pH = 8.1. Phyllosoma utilized the entire tank volume and displayed minimal entanglement. The application of such tank designs for larval spiny lobster culture not only contributes to future designs for aquaculture production, but also provides a useful platform for conducting behavioral studies for this complex larval phase.
- Panulirus argus
- Spiny lobster