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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The effects of eyestalk ablation on integumental growth were examined at the cellular level in larval and adult grass shrimp, Palaemoneles pugio. Eyestalk removal oflarval shrimp resulted in molt increments ranging 9-15% compared to the 7-10% for the intact larvae. Eyestalk-ablated larvae showed a 12―25% lower cell density at postmolt compared to the control larvae. The molt cycle duration did not differ between the experimental and control larvae. Eyestalk ablation in adults resulted in molt increments ranging from 6―13% compared to 3-6% in the controls. Eyestalkless adults had 12-26% lower cell density at postmolt and 17-36% shorter molt cycle duration compared to intact adults. Smaller adults demonstrated greater differences in cell density after ablation than did larger adults. The absolute amount of cell replication and growth was the same in both eyestalkless and control larvae. The epidermis did not undergo compensatory growth and the epidermal cells remained at lower densities compared to the control larvae during two successive instars. The findings suggest that eyestalkless shrimp increased in size more at ecdysis as a result of enhanced water uptake which expands the new integument beyond the level predetermined by epidermal growth.


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