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VARIATION IN THE LARVAL DEVELOPMENT OF CRANGON NIGRICAUDA (DECAPODA: CARIDEA), WITH NOTES ON LARVAL MORPHOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

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ABSTRACT Ovigerous females of Crangon nigricauda were captured in Humboldt Bay, California, and their larvae were reared in the laboratory. A larval form intermediate in morphological complexity between previously described zoea V and postlarva was discovered. The new form, an "early megalopa," is described. There are no discrete morphological "stages" in the ontogeny of C. nigricauda after instar III when independence of ecdysis and morphogenesis becomes apparent. Variable larval development of C. nigricauda is discussed in terms of relative maturity of individual larvae of the same age. During development, the natatory exopods of the thoracic appendages gradually degenerate as the pleopods differentiate, resulting in a gradual transition in swimming emphasis: from strictly thoracic (zoeae), to thoracic-abdominal (megalopae), to strictly abdominal (juveniles). The spiraling swimming behavior exhibited by zoeae of C. nigricauda is not the result of an antagonistic effect of respiratory ventilation currents on swimming speed. Rather, it is a dynamic behavior exhibited by healthy zoeae that probably helps maintain a relatively fixed vertical position in the water column, thereby possibly aiding in escape from predation.

10.1163/193724088X00288
/content/journals/10.1163/193724088x00288
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/content/journals/10.1163/193724088x00288
2017-11-24

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