Egg and Larval Development of Laboratory-Reared Nassau Grouper, Epinephelus Striatus (Pisces, Serranidae)
Abstract:Egg and larval development of the Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, is described from laboratory-reared specimens. Egg diameters averaged 0.92 mm (0.86−0.97 mm), and those of the single oil globule averaged 0.24 mm (0.20–0.26 mm). No pigmentation was discernible on embryos. Newly hatched larvae measured 1.7–1.8 mm notochord length, and were inconspicuously pigmented. A characteristic pigment pattern that persists during larval development first appeared on late yolk-sac larvae—a mass of pigment on the ventral midline and lateral surface of the caudal peduncle, and on the dorsal and lateral surface of the gut. The enlarged, serrated, second first-dorsal-fin and pelvic spines that are characteristic of epinephelin larvae formed very early in the preflexion stage, but spinelets were not well developed until postflexion. The adult complement of dorsal-fin and anal-fin spines and rays was first observed on specimens approximately 6.8 mm standard length (SL) based on pterygiophores to obtain counts. But the appearance of bony stays, which signified completion of the dorsal and anal fins was not complete until 7.4 mm and 7.0 mm SL, respectively. Separation of preflexion and flexion E. striatus from all other epinephelin groupers does not appear possible until comparative studies of pigment patterns, second-dorsal-fin pterygiophore patterns, ceratobranchial gill raker counts, and spinelet development can be done. E. striatus postflexion larvae longer than 7.4 mm SL can be separated from all other epinephelin larvae except E. adscensionis on the basis of dorsal and anal fin ray counts, spinelet configuration, second first-dorsal-fin spine length relative to standard length, and capture location.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1992
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