Polychaetes, commonly known as mud worms, have been fed to shrimp and other crustaceans for some time now. They’re nutritious and promote ovarian maturation and reduce the latency period in shrimp. Which is to say that the mother shrimp get to breed sooner and more often. And the more they breed, the more shrimp eventually get harvested in farms and reach your table as tempura or “sinigang.”
Adding mud worm to feeds promotes fertility in both female and male shrimp. But what exactly is in mud worms that make them fertility-boosting shrimp food? So far, we know that the lipid fraction of mud worm extracts supports female fertility the most. However, is it the same for the male shrimp?
Dr. Sheryll Santander-Avanceña, a scientist at SEAFDEC/AQD, conducted some experiments and sought to answer this very question. She raised male Indian white prawns (Penaeus indicus) and supplemented their food with a variety of mud worm extracts.
With her team from SEAFDEC/AQD and the University of the Philippines Visayas, Dr. Avanceña noted that, as expected, the diet that the male prawns consumed slightly increased their sperm count. They also found out that the broodstock’s sperm had improved protein and lipid content. This means that just as a diet with mud worms improves female shrimp fertility, it also does the same for male shrimp.
Now, exactly what part of the polychaete extracts boosted male shrimp fertility? The study pinpointed the Total Soluble Fraction (which is composed of amino acids) and the Neutral Lipid Fraction (NLF). The study suggested that the arachidonic acids present in the NLF improved sperm quality as this compound and its derivatives are known to stimulate sperm synthesis.
While more research ought to be done to know the specific substances in polychaete extracts that promote male shrimp fertility, the study suggested that customizing maturation diets for female and male shrimp might be worthwhile.
More details on this experiment may be found in the article “Reproductive quality evaluation of male Indian white prawn Penaeus indicus broodstoock-fed diets supplemented with polychaete extracts (Marphysa sp.),” published by Dr. Avanceña and her team in the journal Invertebrate Reproduction & Development.
Request for an article copy here: https://repository.seafdec.org.ph/handle/10862/6451