Abstract

The effects of the most important factors (food quality and quantity, temperature, and salinity) on the production of the harpacticoid copepod Amphiascoides atopus Lotufo & Fleeger, originally described from a mass culture system at the Department of Zoology and Physiology of the Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, were evaluated to ascertain potential yields. For aquacultural purposes, it is important to assess these factors for laboratory-controlled conditions. Feeding treatments were not significantly different between monospecific (Chaetoceros muelleri, Isochrysis sp., and Nannochloropsis oculata) and mixed diets (all three of the mentioned diets in ratios of 1:1:1) (527.2 ± 68.3 to 404.4 ± 160.6 organisms L−1). Copepods fed diets of 320 cells μL−1 (539.6 ± 115.8 organisms L−1) showed the highest mean egg production. Our results demonstrate that a temperature of less than 20°C (15 ± 3.5 organisms L−1) significantly affected the final mean population counts. No statistical differences were observed at 24, 28, and 32°C with productions varying between 330 ± 67.4 to 527 ± 101.3 organisms L−1. Of all the salinity levels tested, the highest population densities were recorded at 32 psu (983.0 ± 78.8 organisms L−1). Identifying the correct copepod species as live prey for larviculture is also considered important so that the appropriate size and characteristics of the food can be administered. These findings suggest that the copepod A. atopus can serve as a good potential live feed for larviculture.

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