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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effects of Alligator Egg Yolk Long-Chain Fatty Acids on Growth Performance of Hatchlings

Authors
item Haeussner, E. - UFL, COLLEGE OF VET MED
item Vander Meer, Robert
item Cardeilhac, P. - UFL, COLLEGE VET MED

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Infertility and embryonic death in captive-bred alligators produce a major expense for alligator farmers in Florida. Losses have been shown to be associated with management practices such as pen design, stocking density, social compatibility, sex ratios, breeder age, and feed management. We previously demonstrated a link between fertility of eggs and egg-yolk fatty acid concentrations. Preliminary studies have shown that nutrient therapy can increase embryo survival in fertile eggs with a resultant improvement in hatch rates. The present study indicates that the alligator egg yolk long-chain fatty acids identified earlier influence hatchling developmental parameters in addition to their affects on fertility rate. However, except for a slight correlation with oleic acid (C18:1) early hatchling performance is not significantly associated with the percent concentrations of these fatty acids. The results of these studies may assist the farm manager to determine if modification of dietary content would be beneficial to their production rates. Our results indicate that nutrient therapy focused on the lipid composition of the diet might be useful for increasing certain hatchling parameters such as early hatchling length and rate of growth and for reducing embryonic death.

Technical Abstract: Nine clutches of eggs were randomly selected from all clutches collected in 1995 at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southwest Louisiana. Selected clutches contained 3 or more infertile eggs and 12 or more fertile eggs which were randomly identified and collected as the experimental sample from each clutch. Mean concentrations and percent composition of the 10 principle long-chain fatty acids present in alligator egg yolk were determined using yolks from the 3 infertile eggs from each clutch. Fertile eggs (12 from each clutch) were incubated under optimal laboratory conditions until hatch. The egg size and dimensions, hatch rate, embryonic deaths, developmental stage of dead embryos, length and weight of hatchlings at hatch, efficiency of embryonic development, and hatchling growth performance were determined. Correlations of percent composition for each of the 10 fatty acids with the developmental parameters and growth performance of hatchlings from fertile eggs in the clutches were made. The results of this study indicate that the alligator egg yolk long-chain fatty acids identified by our laboratory influence hatchling developmental parameters in addition to their affects on fertility rate. However, except for a slight correlation with oleic acid (C18:1), early hatchling performance is not significantly associated with the percent concentrations of these fatty acids.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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