Temperature effects on growth, maturation, and lifespan of the california sea hare (Aplysia californica)

Dustin Stommes, Lynne A. Fieber, Christina Beno, Robert Gerdes, Thomas R. Capo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We conducted a hatchery growth study to describe the variability in growth rates, spawning, and mortality of Aplysia californica in regard to rearing temperature. Animals were housed at a standard hatchery density of five animals per cage, at temperatures of 13, 15, 18, and 21°C. Animals reared at 13 or 15°C grew as much as four times as large, lived twice as long, matured later, and spawned longer than did animals reared at 18 or 21°C. At age 170 to 205 days the fastest growth rates occurred at 18 and 21°C and the slowest at 13°C. As animals at 18 and 21°C reached sexual maturity at ages 190 to 197 days, or -60% through their lifespans, their growth rates slowed such that by age 260 days, the fastest growth rate was at 13°C, and the slowest was at 21°C. Animals reared at 13 and 15°C reached sexual maturity at 242 and 208 days, respectively, or at -40% of their life spans. Lifespan and maximum average animal weight were significantly inversely correlated with temperature (P < 0.0001). However, there were no significant differences at any temperature in the age at which maximum animal weight was reached when this age was expressed as a percentage of the life span: animals reached their maximum weight at -80% of their life span. Aging rate was highest for animals reared at 21°C, while the mortality rate doubling time was lowest at this temperature. This would be expected for the accelerated lifecycle observed at higher temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-35
Number of pages5
JournalContemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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