The principles of energetics were used to examine the energetic requirements of leptocephali. Respiration and excretion rates and daily growth rates combined with proximate composition were used to examine the allocation of energy into each of the three main components of energetics: metabolism, excretion and growth. The daily energetic requirements for leptocephali, referred to as type 2 larvae based upon their unique developmental strategy, were compared to the requirements of non-leptocephalus larvae, known as type 1. Leptocephalus daily energetic requirements were also compared to the energy available from the leptocephalus' proposed food sources. The four species of eel larvae selected were all from the order Anguilliformes: Paraconger caudilimbatus (Poey), Ariosoma balearicum (Delaroche), Gymnothorax saxicola Jordan and Davis, and Ophichthus gomesii (Castelnau). The allocation of energy to each of the components of energetics as well as the total energetic requirements for the leptocephali proved to be very different from those of type 1 larvae. Metabolism received the majority, 60-92%, of the energy required per day. Growth and excretion were allocated 4-39% and < 1-21%, respectively, of the total energy needed per day. Leptocephali required < 50% of the energy needed by type 1 larvae of equal dry mass. The unique growth strategy used by leptocephali allows them to increase rapidly in size while allocating the majority of their energy, not to growth as in most larval fish, but to metabolism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science