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INFLUENCE OF POTENTIAL HABITAT CUES ON DURATION OF THE MEGALOPAL STAGE OF THE FIDDLER CRAB UCA PUGNAX

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ABSTRACT Larvae of many benthic invertebrates respond to particular habitat cues during settlement and metamorphosis. We used laboratory-reared larvae of the salt-marsh fiddler crab Uca pugnax to test whether various cues influenced the duration of the megalopal (presettlement) stage. Filtered natural sea water conditioned by an adult crab for 24 h significantly (P = 0.0001) shortened the megalopal stage by 1-2 days compared to control filtered sea water, but adult-conditioned silt-sized glass beads had no effect on megalopal duration (P = 0.303). The megalopal stage was significantly (P = 0.04) shortened for megalopae that were not exposed to adult-conditioned sea water until 6 days after molting to megalopa, but not for megalopae that were 8 or 10 days postmolt when first exposed to the adult-conditioned sea water. Uca minax-conditioned sea water and Spartina alterniflora-conditioned sea water did not affect the duration of the megalopal stage of U. pugnax. It appears that megalopae of U. pugnax respond physiologically (by molting) to sea water containing substances released by adult conspecifics.

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/content/journals/10.1163/193724098x00575
1998-01-01
2016-12-04

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