Ostrea puelchana is a larviparous oyster from the S.W. Atlantic coasts. This species is not being commercially exploited at present. Because of its high food qualities, however, it may constitute a resource of economic interest in the future.
Until now larval development and characteristics of the incubation period have been poorly known. This study describes the characteristics of the mode of brooding under laboratory rearing conditions and, using scanning electron microscopy, the morphogenesis of the hinge until larval release from the parents.
The larva develops two anterior and two posterior denticles during brooding. A comparison with larvae of other species of the genus Ostrea reveals that the main differences among them do not lie so much in the pattern of hinge dentition as in the rate of evolution of the hinge components, which is faster in Ostrea puelchana. This species has fully developed denticles at the time of release, which places the larva of this oyster as particularly evolved within the genus Ostrea.