Abstract

ABSTRACT


Introduction: The marine snail Hexaplex nigritus is a heavily exploited muricid in the Gulf of California for consumption and handcrafts. When they reproduce, adults aggregated in the form of artificial reefs facilitating their identification and extraction, situation that has reduced their population in that area. Objective: In order to investigate the spawning and intracapsular and larval development of this species as tools for its production in captivity for repopulation purposes. Methods: Eighteen brooders were collected and kept in a closed system with controlled parameters and feeding from April 2017 to September 2018. Growth of parents, spawning of ovigerous masses, number of capsules, and number of embryos and larvae within the capsules, were registered. The main morphological structures of embryos and larvae were documented according to their development. Results: Intracapsular embryonic development and veliger larva until its establishment lasted 14-15 and 31-32 days, respectively. Each 80-88 mm length female produced around 4 ovigerous masses, 627 capsules and 663 993 extracapsular veliger larvae per year. Conclusions: Easy adaptation and reproductive potential shown by H. nigritus in the laboratory are presented as promising strategies for its repopulation and conservation.

Keywords: conservation, controlled conditions, embryonic development, gasteropods, Gulf of California, reproductive strategy