Egg masses and development of Falsilunatia eltanini (Mollusca: Gastropoda): a deep-sea naticid from a Southwestern Atlantic Canyon
A series of cruises to the Mar del Plata Submarine Canyon (38°S/54°W) off Argentina in 2012–2013 have provided biological material that enables insights into the various modes of development of deep-sea invertebrates at depths up to 3500 m. This study describes the unusually large encapsulated embryos of the globose moon snail, Falsilunatia eltanini Dell, 1990 (Naticidae), and compares them with another direct-developing naticid from the same collections, Bulbus carcellesi. Embryos of F. eltanini develop in sand ribbon egg masses that contain up to 6 conspicuous egg capsules, 5.0–8.5 mm diameter. Each F. eltanini egg capsule contains a single, ~ 170-µm diameter egg and abundant, white, supplementary food. This allows the crawling pre-hatching juveniles to grow to 4.7 mm shell diameter. Different stages of development were found among multiple egg collars collected on the same date, which suggests a long reproductive season that could be continuous or periodic (lasting more than a year). The number of whorls in the hatchling juvenile shells and the significant size they attain confirm the occurrence of a long period of embryonic development. This reproductive strategy requires a large maternal investment in the very large egg capsules and abundant supplementary food. Within Naticidae, this extraordinary modality is only observed in several species inhabiting deep-sea and boreal cold waters.
Special thanks are due to Alan Kabat for his thoughtful suggestions that highly improved the manuscript, to the Editors and to Juan Pablo Livore for reviewing the final manuscript. We thank Melina Atencio and Valeria Teso and the people involved in the ‘Talud Continental’ expeditions. This work was funded by PICT 2013–2504 from Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica, and PIP 0253 from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. This is publication #99 of LARBIM.
The present project was partially supported by Fondo para la Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Argentina (FONCYT, PICT) and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET, PIP).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Andres Averbuj, Guido Pastorino and Pablo E. Penchaszadeh declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
- Amio M (1963) A comparative embryology of marine gastropods, with ecological considerations. J Shimonoseki Univ Fish 12:229–358Google Scholar
- Ankel W (1930) Nähreierbildung bei Natica catena (da Costa). Zool Anz 89:129–135Google Scholar
- Baxter R (1987) Mollusks of Alaska, a listing of all mollusks, freshwater, terrestrial, and marine reported from the State of Alaska, with locations of the species types, maximum sizes and marine depths inhabited. Shells and Sea Life, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
- Bouchet P, Warén A (1993) Revision of the Northeast Atlantic bathyal and abyssal Mesogastropoda. Boll Malacol Suppl 3:577–840Google Scholar
- Dell RK (1990) Antarctic Mollusca: with special reference to the fauna of the Ross Sea. Bull R Soc NZ 27:1–311Google Scholar
- Engl W (2012) Shells of Antarctica. ConchBooks, HackenheimGoogle Scholar
- Fioroni P (1982) Larval organs, larvae, metamorphosis and types of development of Mollusca: a comprehensive review. Zool Jb Abt Anat Ontogenie Tiere 108:375–420Google Scholar
- Giese AC, Kanatani H (1987) Maturation and spawning. In: Giese AC, Pearse JS, Pearse VB (eds) Reproduction of marine invertebrates. Blackwell Scientific Publication and The Boxwood Press, California, pp 252–313Google Scholar
- Gohar HAF, Eisawy AM (1967) The egg masses of five Rachiglossan prosobranchs from the Red Sea. Publ Mar Biol Stn Al-Ghardaqa 14:216–268Google Scholar
- Hain S (1990) Die beschalten benthischen Mollusken (Gastropoda und Bivalvia) des Weddellmeeres, Antarktis = The benthic seashells (Gastropoda and Bivalvia) of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Ber Polarforsch 70:1–184Google Scholar
- Hertling H (1932) Zur Kenntnis des Laichbandes und der Veligerlarven von Natica pulchella Risso. Zool Anz 100:95–100Google Scholar
- Huelsken T, Marek C, Schreiber S, Schmidt I, Hollmann M (2008) The Naticidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of Giglio Island (Tuscany, Italy): Shell characters, live animals, and a molecular analysis of egg masses. Zootaxa 1770:1–40Google Scholar
- Murray F (1966) A brief account of the spawn of Conuber incei (Philippi, 1853). J Malacol Soc Australia 10:49–52Google Scholar
- Natarajan AV (1957) Studies on the egg masses and larval development of some prosobranchs from the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk bay. Proc Indian Acad Sci 46:170–228Google Scholar
- Pastorino G (2005) Recent Naticidae (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from the Patagonian Coast. Veliger 47:225–258Google Scholar
- Pedersen R, Page L (2000) Development and metamorphosis of the planktotrophic larvae of the moon snail, Polinices lewisii (Gould, 1847)(Caenogastropoda: Naticoidea). Veliger 43:58–63Google Scholar
- Penchaszadeh P (1988) Reproductive patterns of some South American Prosobranchia as a contribution to classification. Malacol rev 4:284–287Google Scholar
- Rex M, Van Ummersen C, Turner R (1979) Reproductive pattern in the abyssal snail Benthonella tenella (Jeffreys). In: Stancyk SE (ed) Reproductive ecology of marine invertebrates. University of South Carolina Press, South Carolina, pp 173–188Google Scholar
- Rivest BR (1986) Extra-embryonic nutrition in the prosobranch gastropod Urosalpinx cinerea (Say, 1822). Bull Mar Sci 39:498–505Google Scholar
- Scheltema RS (1994) Adaptations for reproduction among deep-sea benthic molluscs: an appraisal. In: Young CM, Eckelbarger KJ (eds) Reproduction, larval biology, and recruitment of the deep-sea benthos. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 45–75Google Scholar
- Thorson G (1935) Studies on the egg-capsules and development of Arctic marine prosobranchs. Medd Grønl 100(5):1–71Google Scholar
- Thorson G (1936) The larval development, growth and metabolism of Antarctic marine bottom invertebrates. Medd Grønl 100(6):1–155Google Scholar
- Thorson G (1940) Studies on the egg masses and larval development of gastropoda from the Iranian Gulf. Danish Sci Invest Iran 2:159–238Google Scholar
- Thorson G (1946) Reproduction and larval development of Danish marine bottom invertebrates, with special reference to the planktonic larvae in the sound (Øresund). Medd Dan Fisk Havunders (Ser Plankton) 4:1–523Google Scholar
- Torigoe K, Inaba A (2011) Revision on the classification of Recent Naticidae. Bull Nishinomiya Shell Mus 7:1–133Google Scholar
- Young CM (2003) Reproduction, development and life-history traits. In: Tyler PA (ed) Ecosystems of the deep-oceans. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 381–426Google Scholar