Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Identification and characterization of olfactory receptor genes and olfactory perception in rapa whelk Rapana venosa (Valenciennes, 1846) during larval settlement and metamorphosis.

Abstract

The rapa whelk Rapana venosa, an economically important marine fishery resource in China but a major invader all over the world, changes from a phytophagous to a carnivorous form following settlement and metamorphosis. However, the low settlement and metamorphosis rates (<1%) of larvae limit the abundance of R. venosa. This critical step (settlement and metamorphosis) remains poorly characterized but may be related to how larvae perceive the presence of shellfish, their new source of food. Here, we report that larvae may use olfactory perception to sense shellfish. Olfactory receptor (OR) genes are involved in odor sensing in animals. We identified a total of 463 OR genes, which could be grouped into nine clades based on phylogenetic analysis. When assessing the attraction of larvae at different developmental stages to oyster odor, R. venosa showed active settlement and metamorphosis behavior only at the J4 stage (competent larva, 1000-1500 μm shell length) and in the presence of shellfish odor at the same time. Expression of OR gene family members differed between stage 2 (four-spiral whorl stage) and stage 1 (single- to three-spiral whorl stage), indicating significant changes in the olfactory system during larval development. These findings broaden our understanding of olfactory perception, settlement, and metamorphosis in gastropods and can be used to improve R. venosa harvesting, as well as the sustainable development and utilization of this resource.