Larval development in the Antarctic nemertean Parborlasia corrugatus (Heteronemertea: Lineidae)
Embryonic and larval development were followed from fertilisation to settlement in the Antarctic heteronemertean Parborlasia corrugatus (McIntosh, 1876). The first cleavage occurred 10 to 15 h after fertilisation, and the second at ≃17 h. Larvae hatched at the gastrula stage, between 170 and 200 h post-fertilisation, and were ≃150 μm in diameter. Early larval stages aggregated in dense groups near the surface of incubation vessels and were positively phototactic. Early pilidium larvae were recognisable 435 h post-fertilisation. They were 155×152 μm in size, and possessed a complete apical tuft of cilia and a full marginal band of locomotory cilia. At this stage, the gust was visible through the body wall, and the mouth was open and was ≃40 μm in diameter. Late pilidia, 222×193 μm in size, were helmet-shaped. They had an apical tuft over 100 μm long, and possessed a lobed marginal band of locomotory cilia. Pilidia were observed aggregating close to the bottom of incubation vessels 1200 to 1350 h (50 to 56 d) after fertilisation, and this was interpreted as settlement behaviour. At this stage, the apical tuft had been lost and they were highly contractile, being capable of compressing their bodies. However, neither developing juveniles within the larval envelope nor hatched juveniles were observed. Pilidia consumed the microalgae Tetraselmis suecica, Thalassiosira pseudonana and Isochrysis galbana. They also fed on particulate organic material < 1 μm in size, as shown by the presence of material in the guts of larvae offered filtered extracts of algal cultures. There was some indication that larvae could use dissolved organic material, since pilidia held in seawater with organic material removed did not survive as long as those in filtered seawater or in filtered water with added amino acids. However, the only larvae to exhibit settlement behaviour in the feeding experiments were those offered Tetraselmis succica and Thalassiosira pseudonana, and these required a longer development time to reach this stage than pilidia in the standard cultures, where a mixed algal diet was offered.