Impact of spat shell colour selection in hatchery-produced Pinctada margaritifera on cultured pearl colour

Type Article
Date 2018-02
Language English
Author(s) Ky Chin-Long1, Sham Koua Manaarii1, Le Moullac GillesORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, UMR 241, EIO, Labex Corail Ctr Pacifique, BP 49, Tahiti, French Polynesi, France.
Source Aquaculture Reports (2352-5134) (Elsevier Science Bv), 2018-02 , Vol. 9 , P. 62-67
DOI 10.1016/j.aqrep.2017.12.002
WOS© Times Cited 14
Keyword(s) Pinctada margaritifera, Phenotypes, Spat shell colour, Earlier selection, Pearl colour

Beaded cultured pearl farming is a lengthy aquaculture process, particularly when the pearl oysters are produced through a hatchery propagation system, and includes the key steps of artificial breeding, larval and spat rearing before graft operations can take place. Within its genus, Pinctada margaritifera has the ability to produce the widest range of pearl colours, thanks to the donor colour polymorphism of the inner shell, which is mainly responsible for colour transmission. As hatchery spat production in P. margaritifera leads to several colour phenotypes (at 3 months old), the aim of this study was to determine whether a relation exists between the colour of the donors as spat and the final pearl colour. In the experiment, which took place over a four-year period, earlier spat colour selection was applied to two hatchery-produced P. margaritifera families. The spat were traced and then used as donors at the adult stage. A total of 1100 experimental grafts were made, using originally grey, green, red and yellow spat phenotypes as donors. The results showed that all spat colour phenotypes mainly produced pearls in the moderately dark (78.4%) and grey colour (56.7%) classes. Differences in darkness level were produced by red and yellow spat, whose pearls were about twice as pale as those from the grey and green phenotypes. Concerning the pearl colour categories, the results showed that the attractive green/blue pearls were obtained twice as often when using grey and green spat phenotypes and that aubergine/peacock pearls were obtained four times more often by using the red and yellow spat phenotypes. This preliminary study suggests that earlier phenotypic colour selection could be applied in P. margaritifera spat as a useful indicator in both pearl production cycles and family selection for donor oyster lines of specific colour propagation.

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