Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 1, pp 121–129 | Cite as

Growth and development of nauplii and copepodites of the estuarine copepod Acartia tonsa from southern Europe (Ria de Aveiro, Portugal) under saturating food conditions

  • Sérgio Miguel LeandroEmail author
  • Peter Tiselius
  • Henrique Queiroga
Research Article


A temperature-dependent growth model is presented for nauplii and copepodites of the estuarine calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa from southern Europe (Portugal). Development was followed from egg to adult in the laboratory at four temperatures (10, 15, 18 and 22°C) and under saturating food conditions (>1,000 μg C l−1). Development times versus incubation temperature were fitted to a Belehradek’s function, showing that development times decreased with increasing incubation temperature: at 10°C, A. tonsa need 40.3 days to reach adult stage, decreasing to 8.9 days when reared at 22°C. ANCOVA (homogeneity of slopes) showed that temperature (P<0.001) and growth phase (P<0.01) had a significant effect on the growth rate. Over the range of temperatures tested in this study, highest weight-specific growth rates were found during naupliar development (NI–NVI) and varied from 0.185 day−1 (10°C) to 0.880 day−1 (22°C) with a Q10 equal to 3.66. During copepodite growth (CI–CV), the weight-specific growth rates ranged from 0.125 day−1 (10°C) to 0.488 day−1 (22°C) with a Q10 equal to 3.12. The weight-specific growth rates (g) followed temperature (T) by a linear relationship and described as ln g=−2.962+0.130 T (r2=0.99, P<0.001) for naupliar stages and ln g=−3.134+0.114T (r2=0.97, P<0.001) for copepodite stages. By comparing in situ growth rates (juvenile growth and fecundity) for A. tonsa taken from the literature with the temperature-dependent growth model defined here we suggest that the adult females of A. tonsa are more frequently food limited than juveniles.


Postembryonic development times Somatic growth Weight-specific growth rates Acartia tonsa Temperature-dependent growth model Ria de Aveiro (Portugal) 



The authors wish to extend thanks to their colleague Carla Domingues and to the students of the Department of Biology of University of Aveiro (Portugal) Rolando Costa and Nuno Gonçalo for their help during the laboratorial work. The authors are indebted to AG Hirst for his comments and suggestions on an earlier draft and anonymous referees who helped to improve this manuscript. The present work was supported by FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) through a PhD grant awarded to SM Leandro (SFRH/BD/6873/2001).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sérgio Miguel Leandro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Tiselius
    • 2
  • Henrique Queiroga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Marine Ecology, Kristineberg Marine Research StationGöteborg UniversityFiskebäckskilSweden

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