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BREEDING IN A SNAIL SHELL: ECOLOGY AND BIOLOGY OF THE JAMAICAN MONTANE CRAB SESARMA JAR VISI (DECAPODA: GRAPSIDAE)

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ABSTRACT Sesarma jarvisi is endemic to central western Jamaican limestone hills and mountains, where it inhabits a rock-crevice system in wet limestone forest regions with at least 2,000 mm annual precipitation. The crevice system is characterized by lower and less variable average temperature and higher and less variable humidity than is the forest floor. It also serves as a retreat for other invertebrates, in particular land snails of the genus Pleurodonte. Shells of several species of this genus are abundant in the rock rubble. Sesarma jarvisi breeds in these shells. Females carrying 3-24 large (1.3 mm) eggs collect water with a field of plumose setae at the rim of the carapace and fill the shells with up to 5 ml of water, into which they release the larvae. Juveniles develop inside the shell until they reach about 8-mm carapace width (CW), when they start to disperse from the brood shell. The mother crab is always present in shells with young up to 3-mm CW and sometimes remains with young up to 6.5-mm CW. Maternal care usually lasts for 2-3 months. A growth curve, using log percentage molt increment and log intermolt period indicates that male sexual maturity occurs at an age of 15-16 months, with an average of 9.7-mm CW. After Metopaulias depressus, S. jarvisi is the second decapod species for which brood care for larvae and young is reported.

10.1163/193724095X00677
/content/journals/10.1163/193724095x00677
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/content/journals/10.1163/193724095x00677
2017-11-18

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