Use of alternative prey for the growth of octopus paralarvae (Octopus vulgaris)

Project coordinated by CIMA in collaboration with the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO), as established in the Resolution of November 20th, 2008 (BOC nº 234, November 21th, 2008) which set the bases and calls for the grant for the realization of R+D+i Projects for research groups and for companies, co-financed with ERDF funds.

The common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) in marine aquaculture is a species with one of the highest potential. However, high mortality of paralarvae recorded in cultivation prevents its development on a commercial scale. It has been suggested that this high mortality may occur due to a nutritional deficit and inadequate diet (Iglesias et al, 2004, Villanueva and Norman 2008). Octopus paralarvae are active predators since birth, so it is necessary to provide a prey that is not only accepted by the paralarvae, but also presents an adequate nutritional profile. Considering that Artemiais not suitable for this crop, finding alternative prey species is crucial.

In order to solve this problem, current project intends to study the use of different alternative preys in the octopus paralarvae feeding. The selected species are: shrimp zoeae (Plesionika spp.), juvenile mysidacea (Gastrosaccus sanctus), sea urchin larvae (Diadema aff. antillarum) and shrimp zoeae (Palaemon elegans).

These preys will be produced under laboratory conditions to study their effect on paralarvae survival and growth. The nutritional profile of these species will be evaluated.

Thus, the main objective is to improve the octopus paralarvae growth and survival with the use of alternative preys (Gastrosaccus sanctus, Plesionika spp., Palaemon elegans and Diadema aff. antillarum larvae).

Successful implementation of this objective entails the realization of the following specific objectives:

• Establishment of optimum culture conditions for alternative prey growth and survival.

• Analysis of each alternative prey nutritional composition.

• Study of preys’ acceptance by common octopus paralarvae.

• Study of these prey effect on growth and survivalof common octopus paralarvae.