MEPS 253:197-208 (2003) - doi:10.3354/meps253197
Embryonic life of the loliginid squid Loligo vulgaris: comparison between statoliths of Atlantic and Mediterranean populations
R. Villanueva1,*, A. Arkhipkin2, P. Jereb3,8, E. Lefkaditou4, M. R. Lipinski5, C. Perales-Raya6, J. Riba1, F. Rocha7
ABSTRACT: Egg masses of the loliginid squid Loligo vulgaris Lamarck, 1798 are attached to hard substratum or branched sessile organisms on the sea bottom. Embryonic development lasts from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the environmental water temperature. Because embryonic statolith growth of L. vulgaris is very sensitive to temperature under laboratory conditions, we analyzed the possibilities of determining past events in the squid¹s early life from analysis of the embryonic area of statoliths of wild squid populations. The relationship between egg-incubation temperature and daily growth of embryonic statoliths under laboratory conditions was determined by tetracycline markings at 10 incubation temperatures ranging from 12 to 24.7°C. In addition, the mean width of embryonic increments in statolith collections of wild L. vulgaris from the Eastern Atlantic (Saharan Bank and NW Iberian Peninsula) and the Mediterranean Sea (Central and Eastern) was calculated. The temperature inferred from the embryonic increment widths of the statoliths of wild squid indicates that embryonic development of L. vulgaris in the regions sampled is likely to occur at temperatures ranging from 12 to 17°C. Mediterranean squid have wider embryonic increments than Atlantic squid, reflecting the slightly higher water temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea during the development of the egg masses. Eggs of L. vulgaris spawned off the NW Iberian Peninsula were estimated, on average, to remain at sea for 47 d, 1 wk longer than Mediterranean eggs (nearly 1 mo longer when comparing minimum and maximum ranges). A longer incubation time for egg masses attached to the sea bottom increases mortality risks. Conversely, slow development at a lower temperature can improve yolk conversion, producing larger hatchlings, and increased hatching competence is expected from such squid. Therefore, a compromise between longer-versus-shorter incubation time and related characteristics does exist.
KEY WORDS: Cephalopods · Spawning sites · Embryonic development · Eggs · Larvae · Growth · Statoliths
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