To assist with the identification of cephalopods in plankton samples collected in the western Mediterranean, CRR number 324 is a compilation of currently available information on paralarvae – the planktonic stage of young cephalopods right after hatching – and the early life stages of species inhabiting this area.
Cephalopods are key components of marine trophic webs and important living marine resources maintaining fisheries around the world. Despite their economic and ecological importance, their larval stages have been little studied worldwide and represent a challenge for future studies on this group of invertebrates.
The taxonomy is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome since larval forms of many species and some whole families are currently still unknown. Improving the taxonomic information is therefore essential for the proper identification of specimens. The only available paralarva guide was produced more than 20 years ago, but valuable taxonomic information has been published since then.
The report, which also incorporates new, unpublished pictures from the authors’ own material, will assist scientists and students interested in identifying cephalopod paralarvae.
The second CRR now published is entitled ‘Alien Species Alert: Ensis directus; Current status of invasions by the marine bivalve Ensis directus’. Both publications can be accessed in the library.
Common octops (Octopus vulgaris) paralarvae. Photo: Ana Moreno