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An alternative developmental table to describe non-model fish species embryogenesis: application to the description of the Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L., 1758) development

EvoDevo, 6 (1), pp. 1-26.

Alix, M., Chardard, D., Ledore, Y., Fontaine, P., Schaerlinger, B.

2015

BACKGROUND: Fish correspond to the most diversified phylum among vertebrates with a large variety of species. Even if general features are distinguishable during the embryogenesis, several differences in term of timing, organ implementation or step progression always occur between species. Moreover, the developmental timing of wild non-model fish often presents variability within a species. In that context, it is necessary to define a model of developmental table flexible enough to describe fish development by integrating this variability and allow intra- and inter-specific comparisons. The elaboration of a model passes by the definition of new stages that could be easily observable on individuals. The present study aims at proposing such a model and describing accurately the Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) embryogenesis using microscopic techniques among which time-lapse video and histological studies. The Eurasian perch belongs to the Percidae family that includes 235 species classified in 11 genera. It is a member of the Perca gender and inhabits the Northern part of Europe and Asia.

RESULTS: At 13°C, P. fluviatilis development elapses for 15 days from the fertilization to the first oral feeding. The staging division first took into account the cellular status to define periods, then the acquisition of new abilities by the embryo to further define stages. It allowed distinguishing 2 main stages during the cell cleavage period depending on the synchronization of the cell divisions, 2 stages during the gastrulation period depending on the cell speed migration and 5 stages during the organogenesis according to the acquisition of key abilities as proposed in the saltatory theory. During each stage, organs implementation was carefully followed with a particular attention for the visual and digestive systems. In addition, our study shows that embryos hatch at various developmental stages while they all begin to feed at a fixed date, 15 days after the fertilization whatever the spawn and the hatching date. This data give arguments to propose the first oral feeding as the best definition of the embryonic-to-larval transition.

CONCLUSIONS: The present model of developmental table combines flexibility and accuracy allowing detailed description of non-model fish species and intra- and inter-specific comparisons.

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