Larvae and postlarvae production of the green-white sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) in culture conditions. We evaluated the biological feasibility of massive larvae and postlarvae production of the Caribbean green-white urchin Lytechinus variegatus. Experiments were designed to choose the initial larval density and microalgae diets under culture, to study metamorphosis, postlarval and juvenile growth. Massive production of competent larvae 650 μm long at 12-13 days is possible using larval densities of 0.25 to 1 larva/ml. The microalgae Rhodomonas sp. was suitable for the optimization of larval growth and survival. Metamorphosis of 100% of the larvae can be induced with films of bentic diatoms (Navicula sp. and Amphora sp.), after 96 h; however, diatoms are not adequate for postlarval development and a food supply of Ulva lactuta is necessary for proper growth. For juveniles, a diet of macroalgae (U. lactuta) and/or commercial marine shrimp culture pellet food is enough for growth, but the best results were obtained with shrimp or U. lactuta used alone (85-86%, against 46% with the mixed diet). We recommend future experiments on nutritional requirements to optimize growth of these and subsequent stages. Rev. Biol. Trop. 53(Suppl. 3): 319-328. Epub 2006 Jan 30.
Keywords: Ulva lactuta, Venezuela, echinopluteus, echinoderms, urchin diets