Nutritional Requirements and Development of Optimal Artificial Feeds for Juvenile Chinese Horseshoe Crabs Grown in Captivity

Project: Research

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Horseshoe crabs are “living fossils,” the existence of which can be dated back to 445 million years ago. At present, only four species are known in the world: one Atlantic and three Indo-Pacific species. Owing to their large size, longevity and abundance, horseshoe crabs can play an important role in the ecology of a coastal area. However, populations of the Indo-Pacific horseshoe crab species, including the Chinese horseshoe crabs, are diminishing due to habitat degradation/destruction, pollution and overharvesting for food. Thus, the conservation of horseshoe crab populations is urgently needed, especially in Southeast Asia. One of the conservation measures in supplementing natural stocks is to culture horseshoe crabs in the laboratory. In turn, these cultured individuals can be released to enhance local populations. While research on horseshoe crab development has provided basic information to establish the physico-chemical conditions for culture, there are few published studies on the diet and nutrition requirements of juvenile horseshoe crabs raised in the laboratory. In addition, the use of natural feeds may increase the complexity, difficulty and costs of culture as compared with artificial feeds. To achieve better growth and higher survival rates in a laboratory culture, this study aims to:1. Determine the whole body composition (moisture, protein, lipid, ash, amino acid profile and fatty acid profile) during development of juvenile Chinese horseshoe crabs,2. Ascertain their dietary protein and energy demand, and3. Design an optimal artificial feed formulation for juvenile Chinese horseshoe crabs.


Project number7002581
Grant typeSRG
Effective start/end date1/05/1013/02/12