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Variation Du Nombre Des Hémocytes Chez Les Crustacés Brachyoures

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The total number of hemocytes as well as the number of hyaline cells and granulocytes has been measured during the intermolt cycle of Eriocheir sinensis. After a gradual decrease from stage A to C1 for all types of cells, a sharp increase took place subsequently during stages C2-C3. Stage C4 is essentially a period of stability. However, crabs engaged in reproduction processes form a remarkable exception with a number of hemocytes significantly higher than in immature individuals or mature crabs in sexual inactivity. During premolt stages, there is first an increase and then a decrease in number of hemocytes. Imposed fasting is followed after 20 days by an increase particularly well marked for granulocytes. After longer periods of starvation, a decrease has been observed. It is suggested that hemocytes are involved not only in a haemostatic mechanism but may also exert a function in the old exoskeleton breakdown before ecdysis, in the synthesis of new teguments after moulting, and in the pre-ecdysial growth of autotomized legs. They seem to play a rôle in the reproduction processes.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire de Biologie Animale, Facultés Universitaires N.-D. de la Paix, 5000 Namur, Belgique

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