The relationship between growth rate, rate of morphological development, and length of larval life, was examined for larvae of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis. The larvae were reared at phytoplankton concentrations between 0.5 x 10e4 and 30 x 10e4 cells/ml at either 12 or 16° C. Growth rates generally increased with increasing food concentration and were highest at the higher temperature; maximum shell growth rate was ~8 micrometers/day Maintained in clean glass dishes at 16° C, many eyespotted larvae survved until the end of the study, as long as 8 wk after they first developed eyespots. Nearly 30% of those larvae that survived under these conditions eventually metamorphosed in the absence of filamentous substratum, suggesting that metamorphosis can be postponed at least 45 days at 16 ° C. Food concentration had no effect on (1) the time elapsed between eyespot development and noninduced attachment; (2) the average shell length of individuals that did attach; or (3) the mean size of larvae remaining at the end of the study.
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