Influence of prey density and dietary supplementation on the growth and development of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus
Maurer, Leah Marie
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The early developmental stages of arthropods often vary and appear to be influenced by dietary conditions. It is hypothesized that food availability and dietary components may affect the number and length of developmental stages of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, specifically those that are reared in aquaculture settings. This hypothesis was examined with C. sapidus 1) larvae and 2) juveniles. 1) During the zoeal period, development from stage 1 to megalopae was monitored under a full factorial experiment with treatments: high and low prey density coupled with and without poly-β-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) supplementations. Our data showed that prey density influences variation in the zoeal development of C. sapidus by increasing stage skipping, reducing the number of the stages from 7-8 to 5-8. Additionally, a high prey density coupled with PHB supplementation caused increasing instances of stage skipping. 2) During the juvenile period, the growth was monitored for three molting events (57-165 days) under the following treatments: 0, 5, 10, and 20% chitin supplemented diets and squid control. Our data showed that chitin supplementation did not affect the growth of the juvenile C. sapidus (molt increment or interval).