The ontogenetic development of the digestive tract and accessory glands of sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus L.) larvae during endogenous feeding

  • Arleta Wegner
  • Teresa Ostaszewska
  • Wojciech Rożek
Research Paper


The process of differentiation of digestive tract structures in the sterlet Acipenser ruthenus (L.) larvae was studied from hatching to the beginning of exogenous feeding [9 dph (day post hatching)] using histological procedures. On the day of hatching the digestive tract was closed and completely filled with nutrients (the yolk platelets) that were successively utilized during development. A liver primordium was present in the ventral region of the yolksac. The pancreas was observed on the 2 dph. At the same time, the mouth opening took place. Glandular and nonglandular stomach and anterior and intermediate intestine developed from the yolksac walls. Gastric glands became visible on the 7 dph. The primary intestine developed into the spiral intestine. At the moment of onset of exogenous feeding the yolk material was completely exhausted and there was not mixed feeding observed in sterlet larvae. The fish started exogenous feeding on the 9 dph, which was accompanied with evacuation of melanin plug. At the end of endogenous feeding the digestive tract of sterlet larvae was developed and functional, so they could properly utilize food.


Acipenser ruthenus Digestive tract Development Histology 



The present study was financed from the funds of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (grant No N311 030 32/2256). The authors would like to express their thanks to Dr. Eugeniusz Bogdan from the Fish Farm “RYBA” in Olesnica, Poland for supplying fish.


  1. Abdullah Al Abdulhadi H (2005) Some comparative histological studies on alimentary tract of tilapia fish (Tilapia spilurus) and sea bream (Mylio cuvieri). Egypt J Aquat Res 31:1Google Scholar
  2. Abol-Munafi AB, Liem PT, Van MV, Ambak MA, Effendy AWM, Awang Soh M (2006) Histological ontogeny of the digestive system of marble goby (Oxyeleotris marmoratus) larvae. J Sust Sci Manage 1(2):79–86Google Scholar
  3. Baglole CJ, Murray HM, Goff GP, Wright GM (1997) Ontogeny of the digestive tract during larval development of yellowtail flounder: a light microscopic and mucous histochemical study. J Fish Biol 51:120–134. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1997.tb02518.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Berg LS, Bogdanov AS, Kozhin NI, Rass TS (1949) Promyslovye ryby SSSR. Atlas tsvetnykh risunkov ryb, MockvaGoogle Scholar
  5. Birstein VJ, DeSalle R (1998) Molecular phylogeny of Acipenserinae. Mol Phylogenet Evol 9:141–155. doi: 10.1006/mpev.1997.0443 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Birstein VJ, Bemis WE, Waldman JR (1997) The threatened status of acipenseriform species: a summary. Environ Biol Fishes 48:427–435. doi: 10.1023/A:1007382724251 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bisbal GA, Bengtson DA (1995) Development of digestive tract in larval summer flounder. J Fish Biol 47:277–291. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1995.tb01895.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boglione C, Bronzi P, Cataldi E, Serra S, Gagliardi F, Cataudella S (1999) Aspects of early development in the Adriatic sturgeon Acipenser naccarii. J Appl Ichthyol 15:207–213. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0426.1999.tb00236.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boulhtic M, Gabaudan J (1992) Histological study of the organogenesis of the digestive system and swim bladder of the Dover sole, Solea solea (Linnaeus 1758). Aquaculture 102:373–396. doi: 10.1016/0044-8486(92)90190-V CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buddington RK (1985) Digestive secretions of lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, during early development. J Fish Biol 26:715–723. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1985.tb04311.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buddington RK, Christofferson JP (1985) Digestive and feeding characteristics of the chondrosteans. Environ Biol Fishes 14:31–41. doi: 10.1007/BF00001574 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Buddington RK, Doroshov SI (1986a) Development of digestive secretions in white sturgeon juveniles (Acipenser transmontanus). Comp Biochem Physiol 83A(2):233–238. doi: 10.1016/0300-9629(86)90567-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Buddington RK, Doroshov SI (1986b) Structural and functional relations of the white sturgeon alimentary canal (Acipenser transmontanus). J Morphol 190:201–213. doi: 10.1002/jmor.1051900205 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Calzada A, Medina A, González de Canales ML (1998) Fine structure of the intestine development in cultured sea bream larvae. J Fish Biol 53:340–365. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1998.tb00985.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cataldii E, Albano C, Boglione C, Dini L, Monaco G, Bronzi P, Cataudella S (2002) Acipenser naccarii: fine structure of the alimentary canal with references to its ontogenesis. J Appl Ichthyol 18:329–337. doi: 10.1046/j.1439-0426.2002.00383.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chen BN, Qin JG, Kumar MS, Hutchinson WG, Clarke SM (2006) Ontogenetic development of the digestive system in yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi larvae. Aquaculture 256:489–501. doi: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2006.01.041 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. CITES (2000) Document AC.16. 7. 2. 16th meeting of the CITES Animals Committee Shepherdstown, 11–15 December.
  18. Conte FS, Doroshov SI, Lutes PB, Strange EM (1988) Hatchery manual for white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus (R.) with application to other North American Acipenseridae. Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, University of California, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  19. Dettlaff TA, Ginsburg AS, Schmalhausen OI (1993) Sturgeon fishes. Developmental biology and aquaculture. Spriner, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  20. Domeneghini C, Pannelli Straini R, Veggetti A (1998) Gut glucoconjugates in Sparus aurata L. (Pisces, Teleostei). A comparative histochemical study in larval and adult ages. Histol Histopathol 13:135–145Google Scholar
  21. Domeneghini C, Arrighi S, Radaelli G, Bosi G, Veggetti A (2005) Histochemical analysis of glycoconjugate secretion in the alimentary canal Anguilla anguilla L. Acta Histochem 106:477–487. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2004.07.007 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Elbal MT, Garćia-Hernández MP, Lozano MT, Agulleiro B (2004) Development of the digestive tract of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata L.). Light and electron microscopic studies. Aquaculture 234:215–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ferraris RP, Tan JD, De la Cruz MC (1987) Development of the digestive tract of milkfish, Chanos chanos (Forsskal): histology and histochemistry. Aquaculture 61:241–257. doi: 10.1016/0044-8486(87)90153-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. García Hernández MP, Lozano MT, Elbal MT, Agulleiro B (2001) Development of the digestive tract of sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.). Light and electron microscopic studies. Anat Embryol (Berl) 204:39–57. doi: 10.1007/s004290100173 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gawlicka A, Teh SJ, Hung SSO, Hinton DE, De la Noüe J (1995) Histological and histochemical changes in the digestive tract of white sturgeon larvae during ontogeny. Fish Physiol Biochem 14:357–371. doi: 10.1007/BF00003374 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gisbert E, Doroshov SI (2003) Histology of the development digestive system and the effect of food deprivation in larval green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). Aquat Liv Res 16:77–89. doi: 10.1016/S0990-7440(03)00029-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gisbert E, Williot P (1997) Larval behaviour and effect of the timing of initial feeding on growth and survival of Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baeri) larvae under small scale hatchery production. Aquaculture 156:63–76. doi: 10.1016/S0044-8486(97)00086-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gisbert E, Rodriguez A, Castelló-Orvay F, Williot P (1998) A histological study of the development of the digestive tract of Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baeri) during early ontogeny. Aquaculture 167:195–209. doi: 10.1016/S0044-8486(98)00312-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gisbert E, Sarasquete MC, Williot P, Castelló-Orvay F (1999) Histochemistry of the digestive system of Siberian sturgeon during early ontogeny. J Fish Biol 55:596–616. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1999.tb00702.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gisbert E, Piedrahita RH, Conklin DE (2004) Ontogenetic development of the digestive system in California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) with notes on feeding practices. Aquaculture 232:455–470. doi: 10.1016/S0044-8486(03)00457-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gona O (1979) Mucous glycoproteins of teleostean fish: a comparative histochemical study. Histochem J 11:709–771. doi: 10.1007/BF01004734 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Grau A, Crespo S, Sarasquete MC, González de Canales ML (1992) The digestive tract of the of the amberjack Seriola dumerili, Risso: a light and scanning electron microscope study. J Fish Biol 41:287–303. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1992.tb02658.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hamlin HJ, Hunt von Herbing I, Kling LJ (2000) Histological and morphological evaluations of the digestive tract and associated organs of haddock throughout post-hatching ontogeny. J Fish Biol 57:716–732. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2000.tb00270.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hensel K, Holčík J (1997) Past and current status of sturgeons in the upper and middle Danube river. Environ Biol Fishes 48:185–200. doi: 10.1023/A:1007315825215 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. IUCN (2006) Red list of threatened species–prepared by the IUCN species survival commission. IUCN, GlandGoogle Scholar
  36. Lenhardt M, Jaric I, Kalauzi A, Cvijanovic G (2006) Assessment of extinction risk and reasons for decline in sturgeon. Biodivers Conserv 15:1967–1976. doi: 10.1007/s10531-005-4317-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mai K, Yu H, Ma H, Duan Q, Gisbert E, Zambonino Infante JL, Cahu CL (2005) A histological study on the development of the digestive system of Pseudosciaena crocea larvae and juveniles. J Fish Biol 67:1094–1106. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-1112.2005.00812.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mani-Ponset L, Guyot E, Diaz JP, Connes R (1996) Utilization of yolk reserves during post-embryonic development in three teleostean species: the sea bream Sparus aurata, the sea bass Dicenfrarchus labrax, and the pike-perch Stizostedion lucioperca. Mar Biol (Berl) 126:539–547. doi: 10.1007/BF00354636 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Monaco G, Buddington RK, Doroshov SI (1981) Growth of white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) under hatchery contitions. In: Proceedings of 12th Annual Meeting World Maricult. Soc., vol 12, pp 113–121Google Scholar
  40. Morrison CM, Wright JR (1999) A study of the histology of the digestive tract of the Nile tilapia. J Fish Biol 54:597–606. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1999.tb00638.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Osman AHK, Caceci T (1991) Histology of the stomach of Tilapia nilotica (Linnaeus, 1758) from the river Nile. J Fish Biol 38:221–223. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1991.tb03107.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ostaszewska T (2002) Zmiany morfologiczne i histologiczne układu pokarmowego i pęcherza pławnego w okresie wczesnej organogenezy larw sandacza (Stizostedion lucioperca L.) w różnych warunkach odchowu. Rozprawy naukowe i monografie. Wyd. SGGWGoogle Scholar
  43. Ostaszewska T, Wegner A, Węgiel M (2003) Development of the digestive tract of ide, Leuciscus idus (L.) during the larval stage. Arch Pol Fish 11:181–195Google Scholar
  44. Ostos Garrido MV, Nunez Torres MI, Abaurrea Equisoain MA (1993) Histological, histochemical and ultrastructural analysis of the gastric mucosa in Oncorhynchus mykiss. Aquaculture 115:121–132. doi: 10.1016/0044-8486(93)90363-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pearse AGE (1985) Histochemistry. Theoretical and applied. vol. 2 Analytic Technology. Churchill Livingstone, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  46. Ribeiro L, Sarasquete C, Dinis MT (1999a) Histological and histochemical development of the digestive system of Solea senegalensis (Kaup, 1858) larvae. Aquaculture 171:293–308. doi: 10.1016/S0044-8486(98)00496-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ribeiro L, Zambonino-Infante JL, Cahu C, Dinis MT (1999b) Development of digestive enzymes in larvae of Solea senegalensis, Kaup 1858. Aquaculture 179:465–473. doi: 10.1016/S0044-8486(99)00180-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sarasquete MC, Polo A, Yúfera M (1995) Histology i histochemistry of the development of the digestive system of larval gilthead seabream Sparus aurata L. Aquaculture 139:79–92. doi: 10.1016/0044-8486(94)00175-N CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Scocco P, Accili D, Menghi G, Ceccarelli P (1998) Unusual glycoconjugates in the oesophagus of a tilapine polyhybrid. J Fish Biol 53:39–48. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1998.tb00107.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Segner H, Storch V, Reinecker M, Kloas W, Hanke W (1994) The development of functional digestive and metabolic organs in turbot, Scophthalmus maximus. Mar Biol (Berl) 119:471–486. doi: 10.1007/BF00347544 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Smith LS (1989) Digestive functions in teleost fishes. In: Havler JE (ed) Fish nutrition, 2nd edn. Academic Press, London, pp 331–421Google Scholar
  52. Sysa P, Ostaszewska T, Olejniczak M (2006) Development of digestive system and swim bladder of larval nase (Chondrostoma nasus L.). Aquacult Nutr 12(5):331–339. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2095.2006.00368.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tanaka M (1973) Studies on the structure and function of the digestive system of teleost larvae. Ph.D. dissertation, Kyoto University, pp. 136Google Scholar
  54. Vega-Orellana OM, Machado Fracalossi D, Kiyoko Sugai J (2006) Dourdo (Salminus brasiliensis) larviculture: weaning and ontogenetic development of digestive proteinases. Aquaculture 252:484–493. doi: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2005.07.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Veggetti A, Rowlerson A, Radaelli G, Arrighi S, Domeneghini C (1999) Post-hatching development of the gut and lateral muscle in the sole. J Fish Biol 55(Suppl. A):44–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Verreth J, Toreele E, Spazier E, Sluiszen AVD, Rombout J, Booms R, Segner H (1992) Development of a functional digestive system in the African catfish Claris gariepinus (Burchell). J World Aquacult Soc 23:286–298. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-7345.1992.tb00792.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Walford J, Lam TJ (1993) Development of digestive tract and proteolytic enzyme activity in seabass (Lates calcarifer) larvae and juveniles. Aquaculture 233:305–320Google Scholar
  58. Weisel GF (1973) Anatomy and Histology of the Digestive System of the Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula). J Morphol 140:243–256. doi: 10.1002/jmor.1051400209 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yashpal M, Kumari U, Mittal S, Mittal AK (2007) Histochemical characterization of glycoproteins in the buccal epithelium of the catfish, Rita rita. Acta Histochem 109:285–303. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2007.03.002 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arleta Wegner
    • 1
  • Teresa Ostaszewska
    • 1
  • Wojciech Rożek
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Animal ScienceWarsaw University of Life SciencesWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Fishing Enterprise “Carp”—Limited Liability CompanyOlesnicaPoland

Personalised recommendations