MEPS 161:83-91 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps161083

Effects of short-term variation in food availability on larval development in the barnacle Balanus amphitrite amphitrite

Jian-Wen Qiu*, Louis A. Gosselin**, Pei-Yuan Qian

Department of Biology, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong
*E-mail:
**Present address: Department of Biology, University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada V2C 5N3

The effects of short-term variation in food availability on larval survival and development of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite amphitrite Darwin were studied in the laboratory. We found that 0.5 and 1 d intervals of alternating feeding and starvation did not influence survivorship of stage II nauplii, but lengthened the duration of development by about 40%; survivorship of nauplius II initially starved for 2 and 3 d was >25% lower than in the continuously fed controls, and larval development was prolonged by >1.5 d. Four-day initial starvation in nauplius II led to 100% larval mortality. Initial starvation also significantly affected feeding time required to complete nauplius II. Although initial starvation in nauplius II affected larval survival and duration of development, those larvae reaching cypris stage all metamorphosed into juveniles. The minimum feeding time required for completion of nauplius II was extended by >8 h for each day of initial starvation, for up to 2 d initial starvation. Feeding time required to complete individual naupliar stages also increased with larval development. Continuous access to food beyond the minimum feeding time shortened the duration of development. Our data suggest that B. amphitrite amphitrite larvae can survive short-term starvation and that such ability may help them overcome a patchy food supply in the field. However, sublethal starvation will lengthen the duration of development, thus increasing exposure to sources of mortality such as predation or misrouting. Since initial starvation in the nauplius II stage did not influence the metamorphic capacity of cyprids in the laboratory, sublethal starvation during larval development should not affect bioassay results.


Barnacle · Balanus · Larval development · Starvation · Larvae


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