The black-lip rock oyster, Saccostrea echinata, has considerable potential for aquaculture in tropical Australia and the Indo-Pacific region because of its large size, rapid growth rates, and established market acceptance. This article is the first to report on embryonic and larval development of this species reared under hatchery conditions. Developmental biology was examined across three larval cultures over a 21-day period. Newly fertilized eggs had a mean (±SE) diameter of 50 ± 0.4 µm, and postfertilization, the first polar body formed within 20 min. The earliest actively swimming trochophore appeared from 12.5 h postfertiliszation (hpf) and D-stage larvae appeared by 18 hpf. Rapid shell growth resulted in the presence of early umbo larvae at 5–7 days post fertilization (dpf). Pediveliger larvae were present from 18 dpf and the larvae settled with induction by epinephrine bitartrate from 21 dpf when they had reached an anteroposterior shell measurement of approximately 280 µm and could be retained on a 200-µm nylon mesh screen. Despite minor differences, overall, the early ontogeny of S. echinata is consistent with that of other members of the genus. This study fills an important knowledge gap in the literature and will aid the advancement of hatchery protocols for this developing aquaculture species.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1