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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Most crustaceans carry their embryos in a brood chamber or ovisac. However, among the pelagic Crustacea nearly all halocyprid ostracods, most calanoid copepods, euphausiids, and dendrobranchiate decapods (Penaeoidea and Sergestoidea) shed their eggs into the water column. Planktonic Branchiopoda produce resting eggs which remain dormant in the sediment as part of their life cycle. Eggs of calanoids of species within the superfamily Diaptomoidea may also survive dormant in the sediment. The eggs of some Aetideidae adhere to suitable substrates. The freely spawned eggs of other calanoids do not appear to be able to survive in the sediment and their spawning strategies and egg characteristics, and those of Euphausiacea, minimize the risk of their eggs reaching the sea bed. The eggs of free-spawning decapods are buoyant, but demersal development has been suggested for some penaeids. The distributions of brooders are not directly limited by the egg or incubation characteristics, but those of free spawners may be thus limited. The production of dormant eggs enables populations to survive when conditions are unfavorable for the pelagic stages, but only in depths in which newly hatched nauplii or juveniles can return to the strata where they can feed to continue development. In contrast, free spawners with nonresistant eggs are at a disadvantage in shallow waters. Free spawning enables populations to reproduce rapidly where food supply is intermittent, particularly in high latitudes.


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