The effectiveness of the protection of embryos and larvae in egg masses from reduced salinity and desiccation was investigated in the gastropod Epheria turrita, which inhabits the intertidal and upper subtidal zones. Embryos and larvae developing inside egg masses were shown not to be protected against changes in environmental salinity. Viable larvae hatched from egg masses at a salinity of 24–26‰. However, if free-swimming veliger larvae, rather than egg masses, were transferred to water of reduced salinity, the range of salinity tolerated by the larvae was wider, and its lower limit was 18–20‰. Egg masses did not protect against desiccation either. A 3-h exposure of egg masses to drying resulted in larval mortality. Larvae hatched from egg masses did not rise to the surface and displayed an early tendency towards gregarious behavior, which apparently enhances their ability to settle on a proper substrate near parental populations.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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