2000 Volume 35 Issue 3 Pages 137-143
This study was undertaken to investigate the energy levels of Lepeophtheirus salmonis larvae and test the hypothesis that aged lecithotrophic copepodids would have reduced settlement ability. Calculated energy levels for all pre-settlement stages were determined following Carbon : Hydrogen : Nitrogen analysis. The calculated energy levels of winter parasitic copepodid larvae (approx. 7800 cal/g dry weight) were similar to those of winter free-living copepod larval stages. Energy levels of copepodids were found to decline sharply between those aged day 1 and 2 post moult and between those aged day 5 and 7. Settlement experiments with aged copepodids, at summer and winter sea water temperatures showed a statistically significant difference in settlement ability between copepodids aged 7 days and those aged 1 and 3 days. However, once attached and settled on the host the rate of development and initial survival was found not to be statistically different from that of the other age groups that were examined. Copepodid durability, as a free swimming stage, and its ability to infect the host in appreciable numbers one week after moulting to the infective stage will have important implications for the salmon culture industry.