Inter-Research > MEPS > v611 > p167-177  

MEPS 611:167-177 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12866

Nutritional state determines reproductive investment in the mixotrophic sea slug Elysia viridis

Paulo Cartaxana1,*,**, Felisa Rey1,2,**, Mariana Ribeiro1, Ana S. P. Moreira2,3, M. Rosário M. Domingues2,3, Ricardo Calado1, Sónia Cruz1

1Departamento de Biologia & CESAM & ECOMARE, Universidade de Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
2Centro de Espetrometria de Massa, Departamento de Química & QOPNA, Universidade de Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
3Departamento de Química & CESAM & ECOMARE, 3810-193 Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
*Corresponding author:
**These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Parental size and nutritional state have been identified as important interrelated parameters determining reproductive investment in marine gastropods. However, studies on reproductive investment of sacoglossan sea slugs capable of incorporating intracellular functional chloroplasts (kleptoplasts) from their food sources are scarce. In the present work, we investigated the effects of different levels of availability of the macroalga Codium tomentosum on the reproductive investment of the mixotrophic sea slug Elysia viridis. Limited food availability decreased sea slug size (dry weight), kleptoplast abundance (chl a concentration), and photosynthetic capacity (PSII maximum quantum yield, Fv/Fm). Furthermore, sea slugs with limited access to food spawned significantly smaller egg masses and displayed a reduced number of eggs per egg mass. Intermittently fed sea slugs spawned a lower number of egg masses than continuously fed and starved sea slugs, indicating a trade-off between feeding and spawning activity under limited resources. No detectable effects of food limitation were observed on the size of individual eggs and total fatty acid content per egg. However, starved sea slugs produced eggs richer in saturated fatty acids, namely stearic acid (18:0). On the other hand, sea slugs with unlimited access to food spawned eggs richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic, eicosatrienoic, and eicosapentaenoic acids (18:2 n-6, 20:3 n-3, and 20:5 n-3, respectively). In conclusion, nutritional state significantly affected resource allocation to reproductive traits in E. viridis.


KEY WORDS: Codium tomentosum · Egg mass · Fatty acid · Fecundity · Kleptoplasty · Parental size · Sacoglossa


Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Cartaxana P, Rey F, Ribeiro M, Moreira ASP, Domingues MRM, Calado R, Cruz S (2019) Nutritional state determines reproductive investment in the mixotrophic sea slug Elysia viridis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 611:167-177. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12866

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn