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Survival, development and growth of larvae of the coconut crab, Birgus latro, cultured under different photoperiod conditions

Hamasaki, Katsuyuki, Ogiso, Yosuke, Dan, Shigeki, Kitada, Shuichi
Aquaculture research 2016 v.47 no.8 pp. 2506-2517
Birgus latro, body size, breeding, environmental degradation, islands, laboratory experimentation, larvae, larval development, photoperiod, survival rate
Populations of the coconut crab, Birgus latro, have been severely depleted on most inhabited islands throughout the Indo‐Pacific regions because of overharvesting and environmental degradation. To assist in the development of artificial propagation technologies for supportive breeding programmes in conserving this species, this study was designed to elucidate the effect of photoperiod on the survival, developmental period of zoeae and body size of megalopae through laboratory experiments. We tested six light (L) and dark (D) photoperiod regimes times of 0–24 h, thus 0L:24D, 6L:18D, 12L:12D, 18L:6D and 24L:0D. Photoperiod conditions significantly affected larval survival. Survival was lower in the 0L:24D condition than in other photoperiod conditions, reflecting higher mortality during the zoeal stage in the 0L:24D condition. On the other hand, survival rates were high during the periods when larvae metamorphosed into megalopae, regardless of photoperiod conditions. In the 24L:0D condition, larval survival rate was slightly lower than in other conditions containing a light phase. Zoeal duration and megalopal body size were not different in light durations ranging from 0 to 18 h, but they were longer and larger, respectively, in the 24L:0D condition. Thus, continuous dark or continuous light conditions impaired the survival and development of larvae, and such photoperiod regimes should be avoided for culturing larvae of the coconut crab.