Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 4 (2014)

Ontogeny and functional histochemistry of the digestive and visual systems and other organs during the larval development of the thick-lipped grey mullet, Chelon labrosus

Carmen Sarasquete
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC), Spain

Juan B. Ortiz-Delgado
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC), Spain

J. Antonio Martos-Sitcha
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC), Spain

Verónica de las Heras
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC). Campus Universitario Río San Pedro - Futuna Blue España S.L., Spain

Manuel Yúfera
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC). Campus Universitario Río San Pedro, Spain

Gonzalo Martínez-Rodríguez
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN-CSIC). Campus Universitario Río San Pedro, Spain


The main ontogenetic and functional changes of the digestive and visual systems of Chelon labrosus during the first three months from fertilization until 99 days post-hatch (dph) are described. An extended slow growth pattern (3.93%) during the first three weeks of larval life was discernible. A long transitional period of mixed endo-exogenous feeding was noticeable until 13 dph. The majority of organ systems and structures (eye, digestive system, liver, pancreas, thyroid and others) were developed and functional before first feeding (mouth opening at 4 dph). First differentiation of gastric glands was detected at 16 dph, with the appearance of a noticeable pyloric muscular portion or typical gizzard and first developed pyloric caeca from 23 dph. The presence of pinocytotic supranuclear vesicles (5 dph) was still visible in the posterior intestine until the third month of life. The eyes exhibited early differentiation and functionality (pigmentation, first cone-type photoreceptors) during the lecithotrophic phase (2 dph), and development of all typical retinal layers containing different retinal cell types was progressively discernible from 16 dph onwards. From this time, rod photoreceptor precursor cells were incorporated into the basal region of the outer nuclear layer, and increases of two types of photoreceptors (cones and rods) were detected from 23 dph.


thick-lipped grey mullet; Chelon labrosus; embryo; larva; growth; yolk; ontogeny; digestive, vision; histochemistry

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