Ontogenetic development of the digestive system in golden pompano (Trachinotus ovatus, Linnaeus 1758) larvae was histologically and enzymatically studied from hatch to 32 day post-hatch (DPH). The development of digestive system in golden pompano can be divided into three phases: phase I starting from hatching and ending at the onset of exogenous feeding; phase II starting from first feeding (3 DPH) and finishing at the formation of gastric glands; and phase III starting from the appearance of gastric glands on 15 DPH and continuing onward. The specific activities of trypsin, amylase, and lipase increased sharply from the onset of first feeding to 5-7 DPH, followed by irregular fluctuations. Toward the end of this study, the specific activities of trypsin and amylase showed a declining trend, while the lipase activity remained at similar levels as it was at 5 DPH. The specific activity of pepsin was first detected on 15 DPH and increased with fish age. The dynamics of digestive enzymes corresponded to the structural development of the digestive system. The enzyme activities tend to be stable after the formation of the gastric glands in fish stomach on 15 DPH. The composition of digestive enzymes in larval pompano indicates that fish are able to digest protein, lipid and carbohydrate at early developmental stages. Weaning of larval pompano is recommended from 15 DPH onward. Results of the present study lead to a better understanding of the ontogeny of golden pompano during the larval stage and provide a guide to feeding and weaning of this economically important fish in hatcheries.
- Digestive system
- Enzyme activity
- Golden pompano Trachinotus ovatus
- Ontogenetic development