The development of an effective artificial larval diet has been a major stumbling block for advancing the aquaculture of spiny lobsters internationally. Attempts to determine the natural diet of spiny lobster larvae have been impeded by their small size and sparse distribution in the open ocean, making these larvae difficult to study using conventional methods. Recent advances in molecular genetic techniques have provided a novel route for identifying the natural prey of spiny lobster larvae (phyllosoma). In this study, sequences from zooplankton found associated with phyllosomas, along with sequences from GenBank, were used to design a suite of group-specific primers. These primers were able to amplify via the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) a short (100-200 base pair) DNA fragment from the 16S or COI locus of potential prey but not from lobster. These methods were applied to four wild-caught phyllosomas of Jasus edwardsii and two phyllosomas of Scyllarus sp. Z, Gadiforme, Cnidaria, Gastropoda and Decapoda crustacean (non-lobster) DNA sequences were obtained from the gut contents of these lobster larvae and inferred as prey. These initial results confirm previous studies using other less definitive methods which have indicated that phyllosomas are opportunistic predators of a wide range of zooplankton taxa. © 2014 The Royal Society of New Zealand.
Research Hub Investigator(s)
Connell, S.C., O'Rorke, R., Jeffs, A.G. & Lavery, S.D. 2014, "DNA identification of the phyllosoma diet of Jasus edwardsii and Scyllarus sp. Z", New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 416-429.
Link to this Publication
Back to our Publication List