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J Fish Biol. 2012 Mar;80(3):555-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2011.03191.x. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Early development of New Zealand hapuku Polyprion oxygeneios eggs and larvae.

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National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd, Private Bag 14-901, Wellington 6241, New Zealand.


This study describes for the first time the normal development of New Zealand hapuku Polyprion oxygeneios embryos and larvae reared from fertilization to 11 days post-hatch (dph) at a constant temperature. Fertilized eggs were obtained from natural spawnings from communally reared captive wild broodstock. Eggs averaged 2 mm in diameter and had single or multiple oil globules. Embryos developed following the main fish embryological stages and required an average of 1859·50 degree hours post-fertilization (dhpf) to hatch. The newly hatched larvae (4·86 mm mean total length, L(T) ) were undifferentiated, with unpigmented eyes, a single and simple alimentary tube and a finfold that covered the entire body. Larvae relied on the energy from the yolk-sac reserves until 11 dph (7·33 mm mean L(T) ), when yolk-sac reabsorption was almost completed. Some of the major developmental stages from hatching to yolk-sac reabsorption were eye pigmentation (5 dph), upper jaw formation (7 dph), lower jaw formation (8 dph) and mouth opening (8-9 dph). By 9 dph, the digestive system consisted of pancreas, liver, primordial stomach, anterior and posterior gut; therefore, P. oxygeneios larvae would be capable of feeding on live prey. The developmental, morphological and histological data described constitutes essential baseline information on P. oxygeneios biology and normal development.

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