Light conditions and heterogeneity in illumination affect growth and survival of Octopus vulgaris paralarvae reared in the hatchery

Tur, R.
Roura, A.
Márquez, L.
López, C.
Lago, M.
Mallorquin, M.
Almansa, E.
Datos de publicación:
Aquaculture, Vol.497, 306-312, 2018
Octopus vulgaris - Light intensity
In order to succeed in common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) aquaculture, it is necessary to overcome the massive paralarval mortalities, which are likely related to zootechnical and/or nutritional aspects. Among the zootechnical aspects, the effect of light could be vital for the development of paralarvae given their sophisticated visual system. O. vulgaris paralarvae display vertical behavior in the wild, being in deeper waters during the day and close to the surface at night. For this reason, the present study traces a collection of light assays in captivity, to test ecologically-driven hypotheses on the growth and survival of octopus paralarvae. The first assay tested a factorial combination of light colors (blue vs white) and intensity (low ~13 lx (36 W/m2), medium ~87 lx (151 W/m2) and high ~265 lx (422 W/m2)). The results pointed to a significant negative impact of low light intensities (13 and 87 lx) on paralarval growth. The second assay was designed to contrast light colors (blue vs white), different levels of intensities (300 lx (478 W/m2) vs 600 lx (1077 W/m2)) and partial coverage of the tanks using a shade mesh, named as “shadow zone” (half-covered vs non-covered tanks). In half-covered tanks, survival was significantly improved, with the best results coming from half-covered tanks with blue light and 600 lx, but no differences in dry weight were observed. The third experiment tested a factor called “light source position” with two levels: “Control” when the light incidence angle was 0° with respect to the normal direction (i.e. perpendicular to the water surface), and “Oblique” when the light incidence angle was 60° with respect to the normal direction. In this experiment, survival significantly improved under oblique light but no differences in dry weight were detected. The last experiment was an unifactorial design combining “light source position” and “tank partial coverage” with three treatments: i) control light with uncovered tanks, ii) oblique light with uncovered tanks, iii) control light with semi-covered tanks. Oblique light with uncovered tanks was associated with a higher survival rate but without statistical significance, probably due to data variability. It can be concluded that light intensity tended to affect paralarval dry weight, whereas the existence of a shadow zone or oblique light are more related with an improvement of survival rates