Spontaneous captive breeding and larval development in the green and red variants of the Japanese sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus (Selenka 1867)


Correspondence: Yuji Yamazaki, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Toyama, Gofuku 3190, Toyama 930-8555, Japan. E-mail: yatsume@sci.u-toyama.ac.jp


We report the spontaneous spawning, larval development, survival rate and larval growth rate patterns observed in the green and red variants of the Japanese sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus. The green variant adapted well to the captive conditions in the Sasebo City Fisheries Center and spontaneously spawned without any induction or stimulation. One hundred individual green variants spawned nine times and produced approximately 155 million eggs. In contrast, 50 individual red variants showed poor adaptation to captivity and spawned spontaneously only three times, producing about 12 million eggs. Larval development and growth rate pattern was almost identical between the two variants of A. japonicus. In contrast, the larval survival rate for the green variant was over 90% up to the auricularia stage (10 days), but much low (less than 30%) for the red variant. We demonstrated that the green variant of A. japonicus was easier to rear in captivity. This provides a useful method for maintaining sustainable harvests and eventually contributing to restocking and sea ranching of the existing population. Further studies about optimal ecological conditions and behaviour are needed to improve egg production and survival rate of the red variant of A. japonicus.