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Where are larvae of the vermetid gastropod Dendropoma maximum on the continuum of larval nutritional strategies?

Phillips, Nicole E.
Marine biology 2011 v.158 no.10 pp. 2335-2342
Cortaderia, Gastropoda, diet, foods, larvae, larval development, metamorphosis, phenotypic plasticity, French Polynesia
This study evaluated whether larvae of the Indo-Pacific vermetid gastropod Dendropoma maximum are obligate planktotrophs, or whether they exhibit an intermediate feeding strategy. Experiments were conducted in Moorea, French Polynesia (149°50′W, 17°30′S), Sep–Oct 2009, to examine D. maximum larval growth and metamorphic responses to different diets and amounts of food. Dendropoma maximum larvae required particulate food to undergo metamorphosis, but were able to survive and grow in the absence of food for up to 20 days. Larvae in Low and Unfed food treatments exhibited phenotypic plasticity by growing a larger velum (the larval feeding structure) compared with those in high food. Unfed D. maximum larvae had a slower initial growth rate; however, by 11-day post-hatch fed and unfed larvae had converged on the same mean shell height (553 μm), which was only 10% larger than the initial size at hatching. Therefore, although the nutritional strategy of D. maximum larvae is best described as obligate planktotrophy, it appears to approach an intermediate feeding strategy.