The value of sea urchin, Lytechinus variegatus, egesta consumed by shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei

Academic Article


  • Sea urchins produce high-energy, membrane-bound fecal pellets that contain residual nutrients and large quantities of microbiota. These egesta are readily consumed by the shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. Egesta of the sea urchin, Lytechinus variegatus, were evaluated as a feed supplement or total replacement for a commercial shrimp diet. Shrimp were stocked at 0.49 g ± 0.06 g initial body weight and housed individually in 2.8-L tanks in a commercial recirculating zebrafish system. Shrimp were assigned to one of six diets: commercial shrimp feed, reference sea urchin feed, collected dried sea urchin egesta, collected wet sea urchin egesta, half ration of shrimp feed and half collected wet sea urchin egesta, and egesta naturally produced by two sea urchins in polyculture. Equivalent dry matter amounts of each diet were proffered to shrimp in each treatment twice daily, except for those that had complete access to natural egesta excreted by sea urchins in polyculture. Sea urchins were proffered a reference sea urchin feed at 2% body weight daily. After 27 days, shrimp proffered collected dried or wet egesta did not differ significantly in percent weight gain and showed the lowest weight gain. The percent weight gain of shrimp fed the commercial shrimp diet did not differ significantly from that of the shrimp fed half commercial shrimp diet and half egesta. The highest weight gain was recorded for those shrimp that consumed the untouched egesta produced by sea urchins in polyculture. These data suggest that consumed egesta have noteworthy nutritional value and therefore would be beneficial to the culture of extractive species in an integrated multitrophic aquaculture system.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jensen KE; Taylor JC; Barry RJ; D'Abramo LR; Davis DA; Watts SA
  • Start Page

  • 614
  • End Page

  • 621
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 3