Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 10, pp 2313–2325 | Cite as

Factors determining the hatching success of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba embryo: lipid and fatty acid composition

  • Toshihiro YoshidaEmail author
  • Patti Virtue
  • So Kawaguchi
  • Peter D. Nichols
Original Paper


The present study addresses the effect of maternal diet on hatching success and condition of embryos and larvae of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba. Lipid and fatty acid content and composition were determined in field and laboratory samples. Developmental stages analyzed in embryos included: multiple-cell, gastrula, and limb-bud stages. Larval stages analyzed included: nauplius I, nauplius II, and metanauplius. Laboratory-reared embryos were spawned by gravid females incubated under three feeding groups: (1) phytoplankton mixture, (2) phytoplankton mixture and minced clam, and (3) phytoplankton mixture, minced clam, and commercial larval food. Hatching success was highest in group 3 (100%), lowest in group 1 (0%), and highly variable in field samples (0–48%). Lipid decreased slightly in embryos during embryonic development, while large decreases in lipid were found during nauplius development. High levels of 18:2(n-6), 20:4(n-6), and 22:6(n-3) observed with group 3 samples coincided with high hatching success in krill embryos. The ratio of 22:6(n-3)/20:5(n-3) also correlated to hatching success of embryos. The fatty acid profile of embryos in group 3 was similar to that of the field-collected embryos, reflecting the contribution of the commercial larval food in the maternal diet. In our study, the maternal diet was found to influence the fatty acid composition of embryos and in turn affects the hatching success of krill. Specific polyunsaturated fatty acids appeared to play important roles in embryogenesis in krill.


Fatty Acid Composition Fatty Acid Profile Hatching Success Maternal Diet Antarctic Krill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the officers and crew of RV ‘Aurora Australis’ for their professional and friendly support during the marine research cruise BROKE-WEST and P. Cramp and R. King for assistance with krill incubation. We thank D. Holdsworth, M. Miller, and B. Mooney for technical support during running of the GC–MS and lipid and fatty acid analyses. We thank S. Nicol for his constructive comments on the manuscript together with three anonymous journal referees. This work is a contribution of the Antarctic Marine Ecosystems Program of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems, Co-operative Research Centre funded by the Australian Governments Co-operative Research Centres Programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshihiro Yoshida
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
    Email author
  • Patti Virtue
    • 1
    • 4
  • So Kawaguchi
    • 2
  • Peter D. Nichols
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean StudiesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Antarctic DivisionKingstonAustralia
  3. 3.ACE CRC (Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems, Cooperative Research Centre)University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  4. 4.Institute of Marine and Antarctic ResearchUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  5. 5.CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Wealth from Oceans FlagshipHobartAustralia
  6. 6.Wynn Macau AquariumRua Cidade de Sintra, NapeMacao

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