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Postmarsupial Development of Munnopsurus a Tlanticus (Bonnier, 1896), a Dominant Asellote Isopod From the Upper Continental Slope of the Bay of Biscay

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The asellote isopod Munnopsurus atlanticus is a dominant species in the bathyal suprabenthic assemblages from the south margin of the Cap-Ferret Trench; it is therefore a valuable subject for studies of postmarsupial development and population biology in bathyal Isopoda. In this introductory paper, its postmarsupial development is described on the basis of size frequency analysis and morphological discrimination. Eight developmental stages are recognized within the Biscayan population: mancas 1-2; manca 3, juvenile and copulatory males; manca 3, juvenile, preparatory and brooding females. The number of successive instars depends on the sex of the individuals; at least 8 instars for the females and 5 instars for the males. The female may be iteroparous, reverting to a preparatory condition before brooding once more. The larger adults are found over muddy sediments, probably reflecting more favourable environmental conditions for growth increment in the deepest part of the investigated area.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire d'Océanographie Biologique, Université de Bordeaux I, 2 rue Jolyet, F-33120 Arcachon, France

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