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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 641:123-134 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13304

Lipid and protein utilization during lecithotrophic development in the asteroid Stegnaster inflatus, with a review of larval provisioning in lecithotrophic echinoderms

L. N. Zamora1,2, N. J. Delorme1,2, M. Byrne3, M. A. Sewell1,*

1School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
2Cawthron Institute, Private Bag 2, Nelson 7042, New Zealand
3School of Medical and Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The eggs of echinoderms with lecithotrophic development provide structural and nutritional materials (lipids, proteins) to complete development without any external sources of nutrition. Previous studies have suggested that a relatively large proportion of the maternal lipid reserves remain after settlement to provision the early post-metamorphic juvenile. Here we examined lipid and protein utilization during lecithotrophic development of the asterinid starfish Stegnaster inflatus which has large (~400 µm diameter), negatively buoyant eggs. S. inflatus produces eggs with a large amount of lipid (mean ± SD: 2047 ± 315 ng egg-1), with 26% structural lipids and 74% energetic lipids dominated by diacylglycerol ether (DAGE; 66%). Similar amounts of protein were present in the egg (mean ± SD: 2143 ± 157 ng egg-1), with a lipid:protein ratio of 0.96. Approximately 80% of the egg protein is used prior to settlement. In contrast, 51.0% of the energetic lipids provided in the egg, and 40.3% of the DAGE remain for provisioning of the early juvenile. A review of lecithotrophic development in echinoderms reveals that asteroid, echinoid and ophiuroid species have an excess of 50% of the maternal lipids remaining in the settled post-larva. When considering maternal investment in offspring for lecithotrophic developers, we need to consider energetic use during the short dispersal period, as well as provisioning for post-metamorphic early juvenile life.


KEY WORDS: Asterinidae · Echinodermata · Non-feeding larva · Demersal larva · Larval buoyancy · Lipid · Protein · Maternal provisioning


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Cite this article as: Zamora LN, Delorme NJ, Byrne M, Sewell MA (2020) Lipid and protein utilization during lecithotrophic development in the asteroid Stegnaster inflatus, with a review of larval provisioning in lecithotrophic echinoderms. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 641:123-134. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13304

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