The ability to culture larval lobsters is of paramount importance to the commercial development of effective aquaculture methods. Recently, we developed two separate laboratory culturing strategies that yielded the complete larval development from egg to puerulus (post-larva) for the commercially important and transpacific Pronghorn spiny lobster, Panulirus penicillatus (Olivier, 1791). Individual phyllosomal culture of 10 newly hatched animals was carried out in a static seawater system. Two of the 10 phyllosomata held at 24.5-26.0°C metamorphosed after 22 molts to the puerulus stage at 256 and 294 days respectively (final body lengths = 30.80 mm and 32.00 mm). Mass culture of 500 newly hatched phyllosomata was also carried out in two specialized acrylic flow-through seawater tanks. Of the 500 larval animals, 215 were randomly sampled and morphologically staged (10 distinct stages were observed and documented as well as two sub-stages). Seven phyllosomata that were mass cultured metamorphosed to the puerulus stage under a constant temperature regime of 24°C (mean days = 302.4 and mean final body length = 32.133 mm). This species is now one of eight palinurid lobsters and only the fourth Panulirus spp. to be cultured completely from hatch to settlement stage. The biological understanding of larval development for this species promotes the feasibility for aquaculture and potentially facilitates future modeling of larval dispersal and duration in the field.
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Vol. 26 • No. 4