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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The complete larval development of an Atlantic Lepidopa from a known parental female is described for the first time. The ovigerous L. benedicti was collected at Horn Island, Mississippi (Gulf of Mexico). The larval development consisted of 4 zoeal stages, and one megalopal stage which was reached 14-17 days after hatching, at 25°C and 26‰ salinity. Zoeae of L. benedicti are very similar to those of other known Atlantic Lepidopa; there are differences among the corresponding zoeal stages in abdominal spination, and in zoeae II and III, differences in setation of the antennule and exopods of maxillipeds 1 and 2. The megalopa of L. benedicti is compared with other known megalopae of Lepidopa, 1 from the Atlantic and 2 from the Pacific. All megalopae are separable using setation of the antennular ventral flagellum, and the megalopa of L. benedicti can also be separated from the other Atlantic species by segmentation of the antennular dorsal flagellum. The development of selected adult key characters of L. benedicti (carapace frontal margin, eyeshape and pigmentation, posterior dorsal carapace groove, and pereiopod 2 dactylus shape) is illustrated and described through crab 4. In crab 4, all selected characters became diagnostic except for the pereiopod 2 dactylus which has not yet attained adult shape.


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