• aquaculture;
  • nutrition;
  • phyllosoma;
  • prey;
  • spiny lobster larvae;
  • zooplankton


Spiny lobsters are one of the most valuable seafood products in the world. A major bottleneck to the development of commercial spiny lobster aquaculture is a lack of understanding of the natural diet and nutritional requirements of the larvae. Recent studies have identified the varied pelagic zooplankton prey of spiny lobster phyllosoma, which includes gelatinous taxa, such as ctenophores, jellyfish, salps, chaetognaths, polychaetes, siphonophores and radiolarians, as well as crustaceans, such as amphipods, copepods and krill. In light of these studies, the extensive range of published studies on the biochemical composition of zooplankton have been reviewed in an attempt to provide an initial indication of the possible nutritional requirements of spiny lobster phyllosoma, including protein, lipid, carbohydrate, ash and moisture content. The results indicate that protein is the predominant component in all taxonomic groups of potential prey, which is 46.7 ± 6.0% of dry mass (mean ± SE) in crustaceans and 18.3 ± 7.8% of dry mass in gelatinous zooplankton, followed by lipid, which is 23.8 ± 4.5% of dry mass in crustaceans and 5.3 ± 1.4% of dry mass in gelatinous zooplankton. Carbohydrate is 1.9 ± 0.1% of dry mass in crustaceans and 0.9 ± 0.1% of dry mass in gelatinous zooplankton. Despite the much lower nutrient and energy content of gelatinous zooplankton compared with crustaceans, feeding by phyllosoma on gelatinous zooplankton may provide them more readily accessible nutrients. The results indicate that spiny lobster phyllosoma have a high dietary requirement for protein.