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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

Morphology and ontogeny of the phyllosomata and pueruli of 17 of the 19 species of Panulirus were reviewed in order to create phyllosoma and puerulus species-groups for comparison with the adult species-groups of George and Main (1967). An evolutionary sequence of several species-groups in each of the early developmental phases of Panulirus is presented. These groups correspond well with the adult groups, with the exceptions of P. interruptus (Randall) and P. guttatus (Latreille). Comparative morphological data indicate 2 basic phyllosoma and puerulus forms. The more recent tropical species have a more specialized form of phyllosoma and puerulus than those of the early subtropical species. The phyllosoma and the puerulus of P. interruptus are of an intermediate form. The larvae of P. guttatus are of the early phyllosoma form and are unique in showing development of the specialized, spatulate, antenna through their last 3 stages. This character appears only in the final stage of the more recent tropical species. This is consistent with other comparative ontogenetic data which indicate a trend toward consistently "accelerated" larval development within the genus. This implies a shortening of the planktonic phase in the more recent species, since their larval development may be completed in a shorter time relative to that of the earliest species. The phyllosoma and puerulus groupings strengthen the view that there is an evolutionary sequence of "earlier" and "later" species of Panulirus. In their younger developmental phases, evolution has proceeded along different morphological, and probably behavioral, lines.


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