The Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarcticum) is the dominant pelagic fish inhabiting the shelf waters of Antarctica where it plays a key role in the coastal ecosystems providing a link between plankton and the top predators. Despite the great attention devoted to this fish by the polar scientific community, several aspects of its life cycle still remain uncovered, including the reproduction and the initial life history. Following the discovery of the first nursery area of P. antarcticum in Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea), the past decade has seen a great impetus of multidisciplinary researches aimed at characterizing the spawning ground as well as studying the biological and physiological adaptations that allow survival of embryonated eggs and larvae in such an icy environment. The accessibility to a nursery area of this species also opened the way to studies focused on the embryonic and larval development. In this frame, we aimed at characterizing the early post-hatch phases of P. antarcticum life cycle. Near-term embryonated eggs were collected in the field and reared in aquaria with flow-through sea water at ambient temperature (about -1°C). A developmental series was generated by sampling at fixed time intervals for up to 21 days from hatching. The first data on early post-hatch growth of P. antarcticum, along with an in depth description of the main changes occurring in the larvae from hatch to depletion of the yolk sac are shown. This work contributes to fill the gap in the knowledge of the early life history of P. antarcticum, thus adding a piece of information to the puzzle of this Antarctic keystone species life cycle.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.