Effects of diet and temperature on the survival of larval red deepsea crab Chaceon quinquedens in laboratory conditions
The red deepsea crab Chaceon quinquedens supports a commercially valuable fishery on the North Atlantic coast of the United States. Early life history of the red crab is poorly known, particularly the conditions required for larval development. Determining optimal conditions (diet and temperature) for higher survival and development of larvae is the focus of this project. During summer 2014, ovigerous females were obtained from commercial traps owned by the Atlantic Red Crab Company and transported to the NOAA James J. Howard Laboratory in Sandy Hook, NJ. Crabs were placed in individual flow-through containers that allowed collection of newly hatched larvae. First stage zoea larvae obtained from adult females were transferred to an experimental system consisting of two temperature baths at 9°C and 15°C, with 10 buckets each. Each bucket held 3 containers with 10 larvae for a total of 600 larvae. The following diet treatments were administered daily: rotifers, artemia, algae, and unfed. Temperature, survival, and number of molts in each container were recorded daily.
Larvae raised at 15°C exhibited faster development but lower survival than those held at 9°C. Larvae exhibited greater survival and development rates at both temperatures when placed on the rotifer diet versus any other diet program. This information sets a benchmark to understand interactive parameters regarding biological processes of the species, allowing for the development of protocols needed for further experimentation in red deepsea crab biology and impacts of climate change. This project will advance development of climate change research with ecosystem and fishery considerations providing a baseline of high-quality data to better our understanding of deepsea living resources.