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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT A male and a female of Gonodactylus bredini collected off the coast of North Carolina were maintained in the laboratory for 16 months. Five clutches were spawned during a period of one year. Egg masses were pinkish orange, hollow spheres approximately 15 mm in diameter. Each egg mass consisted of 800-900 ovoid eggs ranging from 0.75-0.79 mm in length and 0.64-0.67 mm in width. The periodicity between emergences of pelagic larvae from the burrow ranged from 32-91 days, with a mean of 62 days. At 28°C developmental times were as follows: approximately 29-30 days from mating to the pelagic larval stage when brooding is no longer required, 20-21 days from spawning to the pelagic stage, and six days from the propelagic to the pelagic stage. The female appeared to sculpt a burrow in hard coral and then seal the burrow while larvae remained within. Only one molt was observed, during which time the stomatopod changed color before reverting to its normal hue. Larvae of G. bredini were reared to metamorphosis from the eggs spawned and hatched in the laboratory. Three propelagic, four pelagic, one supernumerary, and the first postlarval stage were described for G. bredini. The unequivocable existence of supernumerary instars has not been determined previously for any species of stomatopod. The duration of larval development is approximately 35-40 days at 25°C and 30 days at 30°C when larvae progress through seven stages before metamorphosing, and 40-50 days at 25°C and 36 days at 30°C for larvae metamorphosing after eight stages. Of the 454 larvae reared, only 4% metamorphosed successfully. Differences in color patterns, degree of aggressiveness, developmental times, and postlarval and adult characters between Bermudan and North Carolinian populations of G. bredini raise the possibility that the two populations may be distinct species.


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