Laboratory culture of Dreissena polymorpha larvae: Spawning success, adult fecundity, and larval mortality patterns

James A. Stoeckel, Dianna K. Padilla, Daniel W. Schneider, Chris R. Rehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the entire life history, especially critical periods during the life cycle of a species, is important for understanding population dynamics and is crucial for control of nuisance species. Errors in estimates of growth rates and recruitment in field and modeling studies are likely to occur if one assumes uniform rather than size- or stage-specific mortalities for larval stages. Similarly, effects of brood-stock health on adult fecundity and larval mortality patterns might affect results of laboratory studies investigating larval life history. We maintained zebra mussels, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas, 1771), in spawning condition in the laboratory for 24 weeks. Healthy larvae were produced for 18 weeks. However, induction of spawning and egg production declined through time. Fecundity increased with size per female, but sperm production did not for males. We found no correlation between clutch size and egg size across a wide range of clutch sizes. Survivorship was greater when larvae were reared at lower densities. Daily larval mortality was strongly size dependent; the average size of dead larvae was similar to the minimum size of live larvae. Highest daily larval mortality occurred during the transition from D stage to umbonal stage, supporting the suggestion of a developmental bottleneck as found in previous field studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1436-1443
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian journal of zoology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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