Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Modelling Survival and Growth of Mithraculus forceps Larvae and Juveniles in Aquaculture

Event Name/Location

World Aquaculture, San Antonio, TX, February 26-March 2, 2007

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Optimizing animal survivorship and growth is one of the essential tasks in the aquaculture industry. Crustaceans survivorship and growth are influenced by a variety of factors, including environmental conditions, social interactions, water quality, pathogens and diet quality and quantity. Mathematical modelling of growth or survival has never been used in ornamental cultured species, namely in ornamental crabs. Ornamental aquaculture has been recognized as the best solution to minimize wild harvest on coral reef ecosystems, allowing a sustainable growth of the marine aquarium industry.

Mithraculus forceps (A. Milne Edwards, 1875) is a very popular and heavily traded species in the marine aquarium industry for their ability to control some nuisance algae in aquarium tanks. The direct effects of several factors, as temperature, stocking density, diet, prey density and starvation conditions, on Mithraculus forceps larval and juvenile survival and growth was already studied. However, it did not yield the necessary tools for aquaculturists to achieve higher productivity, such as allowing them to calculate the desired larval or juvenile survival and growth, by controlling the environmental and technical factors.

By using this accumulated information on larval and juvenile rearing, a survival and growth model was developed to better understand the crab development, as well as productivity models that allow optimization of the culture methodology of M. forceps. By taking into account the productivity, we estimated larval optimal conditions as: 2860 larvae.L-1, 10 Artemia nauplii.mL-1 as well as the possibility of starving the larvae after the 7 DPH (one day before 1st metamorphosis). For juveniles we estimated optimal conditions as: 2812900 crabs.m-2 and feed juveniles with Artemia nauplii, if possible supplemented with Amphora microalgae.