Embrionary and larval development of Lytechinus variegatus (Echinoidea: Toxopneustidae) in laboratory conditions at Isla de Margarita-Venezuela. The sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus is a promissory species for aquaculture activities in tropical countries. In Venezuela, this species has some economical importance but their embryonic and larval development had not been studied. We collected specimens from seagrass beds in Margarita Island (Venezuela) and kept them in the laboratory, where they spawned naturally. With filtered sea water (temperature 28ºC, salinity 37 psu) and moderate aeration, the eggs and sperm were mixed (relation 1:100) and reached a 90% fertilization rate. The fertilization envelope was observed after two minutes, the first cellular division after 45 minutes and the prism larval stage after 13 hours. The echinopluteus larval stage was reached after 17 hours and metamorphosis after 18 days of planktonic life, when the larvae start their benthic phase. Rev. Biol. Trop. 53(Suppl. 3): 313-318. Epub 2006 Jan 30.
Keywords: Sea urchins, Lytechinus variegatus, larvae, larval development, culture, echinoid, echinoderms