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Neither Maternal Size Nor Site of Spawning Influences Larval Competency in Western Rock Lobster Panulirus Cygnus George

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Abstract The size of the western rock lobster broodstock is variable over the range of the Western Australian fishery, due to regional differences in the density and length structure of the stock and the female's size at maturity. Management regulations do not currently discriminate in the protection afforded to the broodstock in the different regions. This study has examined whether regional and size differences in early egg diameter, phyllosoma length at hatch and phyllosoma competency, are related to lipid class and fatty acid composition, protein composition and water content in late stage eggs and early stage phyllosoma larvae. A positive relationship, particularly to phyllosoma competency, would have management implications for the protection of broodstock in different parts of the fishery. Females were sampled in three size groups captured in two sampling regions (Abrolhos Islands 60-70 and 80-90 mm CL; coastal 80-90 and > 95 mm CL). Mostly, eggs and larvae from different maternal size classes and regions were not significantly different with respect to lipid class and fatty acid composition, protein composition and water content, and larval competency. The lipid classes of eggs differed significantly (P < 0.02) between the three maternal size-classes; fatty acids differed significantly between both eggs and phyllosoma grouped by maternal catch site and size-class (P = 0.02 and 0.003, respectively); and there was no correlation between biochemical differences and larval competency. These results imply that maternal identity and subsequent diet may have a greater influence on larval competency in P. cygnus than the maternal attributes (size and capture site) that were tested.

Affiliations: 1: d (PDN) CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia


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