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EFFECTS OF SALINITY AND STARVATION ON LARVAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE CRABS ARMASES RICORDI AND A. ROBERTI (DECAPODA: GRAPSIDAE) FROM JAMAICA, WITH NOTES ON THE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF ADULTS

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ABSTRACT Adult ecology, egg production, larval development, salinity tolerance, and starvation resistance of the grapsid crabs Armases ricordi and A. roberti were studied in Jamaica. The species have different adult habitats. Armases ricordi lives in dry hot habitats up to 200 m from the shore, whereas A. roberti lives on the banks of fresh-water rivers up to 9.6 km from the sea, a relatively moist habitat with moderate temperature variations. Newly deposited eggs were significantly larger in A. roberti (0.40 mm) than in A. ricordi (0.35 mm). Both species produced many eggs per clutch, more than one clutch in an intermolt stage, and at least one clutch of eggs was fertilized without remating. Ovigerous females of A. ricordi migrate to the sea for larval release, whereas A. roberti apparently release the larvae into the river to be transported to the sea. In both species, larval development takes place in the sea and consists of 4 zoeal stages. Duration of larval development did not differ between A. ricordi (16.1 days) and A. roberti (16.9 days), but the megalopa stage in A. roberti (12.0 days) was longer than in A. ricordi (9.1 days). In both species, larvae depended on food intake in order to complete development, and the duration of survival in starved larvae varied significantly between hatches. Larvae of Armases roberti, hatched with a larger body size, showed a higher endotrophic potential and the first crab stage was larger than in A. ricordi. The range of salinity tolerated for development to the megalopa was 20-45 ppt in A. ricordi and 15-45 ppt in A. roberti. The species differed greatly in salinity tolerance in the first zoeal stage, with 100% of the larvae surviving fresh water only for 1 h in A. ricordi, but for 2.5 days in A. roberti, allowing the first zoea of the latter to be transported to the sea from distant inland habitats. The differences between A. roberti and A. ricordi in endotrophic potential, body size, and fresh-water tolerance of the first zoea are likely to be related to the larger egg size and, hence, larger yolk provisioning per egg in A. roberti. We discuss the significance of migration and larval release pattern in relation to inland distribution of adults for species with marine planktonic development.

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/content/journals/10.1163/193724098x00250
1998-01-01
2016-12-04

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