Spider crab: a species of great commercial interest in Spain. (Photo: IRTA)
Feasibility of spider crab commercial cultivation under study
Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 02:40 (GMT + 9)
A team of experts from the Institute for Research and Technology (IRTA), under the Department of Agriculture of the Generalitat de Catalunya, is investigating the possibility of starting the commercial cultivation of spider crab (Maja brachydactyla).
The spider crab is a crab of great commercial interest in Spain, and therefore an overexploited resource.
The study is carried out in IRTA Sant Carles de la Rápita Centre, in Tarragona, through an aquaculture farming sub-programme.
Researchers seek to find ways to improve survival in the last larval stage, which is a key moment for commercial breeding.
According to their biological characteristics and early experiences in captivity, this crustacean is potentially viable for commercial cultivation.
The spider crab has high fertility, as can lay between 20,000 and 200,000 eggs per clutch and perform three to four egg-laying per year.
It also has a short embryonic development, an abbreviated larval development (three stages), and juvenile growth relatively quick.
IRTA experts say the key for the initiative to be successful is to improve survival in the last larval stage.
One of the central themes is that of food, so scientists hope to get a suitable artificial diet.
But, according to the IRTA, in order to move, they need to know what might be the effect of temperature and photoperiod on larval development --duration, survival and biochemical composition at each stage-- and determine the effect of substrate and substances that promote metamorphosis.
"The knowledge and farming improvement of the spider crab larvae will open new paths for future projects to make for both the conservation of this species in natural environment and for commercial use, offering a new production possibility for a new species and business for companies in the aquaculture sector", the Institute added.
By Analia Murias