A Study of Some Aspects of Metamorphic Competence and Habituation in Larvae of the Marine Gastropod Phestilla Sibogae

Scheuer, Deborah
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
As a sibling group of larvae of the nudibranch Phestilla sibogae ages, the percentage of larvae which are competent, and thus will metamorphose when exposed to metamorphic inducer, increases (Hadfield, 1977). However, larvae that are exposed to inducer prior to becoming competent are habituated, and will not metamorphose unless the habituation is reversed (Hadfield, 1980). This paper presents results of some further studies of competence and habituation. Generally as the age of larvae at the time of induction increased, the larvae though to be habituated exhibited an increasing tendency to metamorphose. Larvae hatched several days prematurely showed the relationships between age and competence and age and habituation as those seen in other larvae. Most larvae were habituated within 28 hours following induction, and most were dehabituated by a five hour removal fro inducer. These time lengths probably depended on larval age and temperature. Further research is needed to determine if there are other ways, besides removal from inducer, to dehabituate larvae.
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