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Morphological differentiation of megalopae in the family Panopeidae Ortmann, 1893, from a lagoon system inlet in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico

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Some morphological differences among the megalopae of the family Panopeidae have been determined. The megalopa stage was obtained from the artificial inlet of the Camaronera Lagoon, Veracruz, Mexico. Morphological analysis consisted of: dissection of the antennule, carapace, and telson, classification and counting of setae and aesthetascs, and measurements of carapace width and carapace length. A total of 96 172 megalopae of several species of Brachyura were obtained, of which 577 belonged to the family Panopeidae. Six species of this family were identified: Panopeus herbstii, P. lacustris, Dyspanopeus texanus, Neopanope packardii, Eurypanopeus depressus, and Hexapanopeus angustifrons. Morphological differences include: E. depressus lacks anterolateral projections and was smallest in size; D. texanus has two subterminal setae and four terminal setae on the endopod of the antennula; N. packardii has six strong plumose setae on the second segment of the uropod; H. angustifrons has one subterminal seta and two terminal setae on the endopod of the antennula. With respect to carapace size, the two species of the genus Panopeus, P. herbstii and P. lacustris, present the largest carapace size, while the smallest size was registered for E. depressus. A key for the identification of these megalopae of the family Panopeidae is presented. Se determinaron algunas diferencias morfológicas en megalopas de la familia Panopeidae. Las megalopas se obtuvieron en la boca artificial de la Laguna de Camaronera, Veracruz, México. El análisis morfológico consistió en: la disección de la anténula, del caparazón, y del telson, la clasificación y conteo de las setas y estetes, y la medición del ancho y largo del caparazón. Se obtuvieron un total de 96 172 megalopas de varias especies de Brachyura, de las cuales 577 pertenecieron a la familia Panopeidae. Se identificaron seis especies de esta familia: Panopeus herbstii, P. lacustris, Dyspanopeus texanus, Neopanope packardii, Eurypanopeus depressus y Hexapanopeus angustifrons. Las diferencias morfológicas mostraron que E. depressus carece las proyecciones anterolaterales en el caparazón y es más pequeño; D. texanus tiene dos setas subterminales y cuatro setas terminales en el endópodo del anténula; N. packardii tiene seis fuertes setas plumosas en el segundo segmento del uropodo; H. angustifrons tiene un seta subterminal y dos setas terminales en el endópodo de la anténula. Con respecto al tamaño de caparazón, la dos especies del género Panopeus: P. herbstii y P. lacustris, presentaron el tamaño más grande del caparazón, mientras que el tamaño más pequeño se registró para E. depressus. Se presenta una clave de identificación para las megalopas de estas especies de la familia Panopeidae.

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