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Effects of salinity and sea salt type on egg activation, fertilization, buoyancy and early embryology of European eel, Anguilla anguilla

  • Sune Riis Sørensen (a1), Ian Anthony Ernest Butts (a2), Peter Munk (a2) and Jonna Tomkiewicz (a2)

Improper activation and swelling of in vitro produced eggs of European eel, Anguilla anguilla, has been shown to negatively affect embryonic development and hatching. We investigated this phenomenon by examining the effects of salinity and sea salt type on egg dimensions, cell cleavage patterns and egg buoyancy. Egg diameter after activation, using natural seawater adjusted to different salinities, varied among female eels, but no consistent pattern emerged. Activation salinities between 30–40 practical salinity unit (psu) produced higher quality eggs and generally larger egg diameters. Chorion diameters reached maximal values of 1642 ± 8 μm at 35 psu. A positive relationship was found between egg neutral buoyancy and activation salinity. Nine salt types were investigated as activation and incubation media. Five of these types induced a substantial perivitelline space (PVS), leading to large egg sizes, while the remaining four salt types resulted in smaller eggs. All salt types except NaCl treatments led to high fertilization rates and had no effect on fertilization success as well as egg neutral buoyancies at 7 h post-fertilization. The study points to the importance of considering ionic composition of the media when rearing fish eggs and further studies are encouraged.

Corresponding author
All correspondence to: Sune Riis Sørensen. Section for Marine Ecology and Oceanography, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Jægersborg Allé 1, DK-2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark. Tel: +45 21 31 49 83. Fax: +45 35 88 33 33. e-mail:
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