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La Place De L'Accouplement Dans Le Cycle De Reproduction Des Isopodes Terrestres (Oniscoidea)

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In the Oniscoidea three mating patterns can be distinguished in the reproduction cycle which seem to be characteristic of different evolution levels. In the primitive family Tylidae (Tylos and Helleria) mating is closely connected with the annual parturial moult of the females. It takes place either between the back-half and the front-half ecdysis, or within the 24 or 48 hours following moulting. In Helleria, partners are united, generally already before moulting, by a long precopulation period, like observed in many aquatic crustaceans. In higher forms of the other evolutive lines within the Oniscoidea, such a close relation between mating and moulting has not been found. In Trichoniscus pusillus and Androniscus dentiger (trichoniscid series) as well as in Porcellio laevis, Metoponorthus sexfasciatus and Armadillidium vulgare (ligiid series) the copulation takes place in the intermoult preceding the parturial moult, the nearer to the moult, the easier. In Armadillo officinalis, a highly evolved species, mating occurs at any intermoult in the annual cycle, in stage C of the moulting cycle. The evolution of the Oniscoidea, from ancestral aquatic forms, therefore seems to proceed in the direction of a regression of the dependence of the mating in relation to the parturial moult.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire de Psychophysiologie Comparée - I.N.P.7. C.N.R.S., 31, chemin Joseph-Aiguier, 13274 Marseille Cedex 2, France

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