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EFFECTS OF THE PESTICIDE METHOPRENE ON MORPHOGENESIS AND SHELL FORMATION IN THE BLUE CRAB CALLINECTES SAPIDUS

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ABSTRACT The juvenile hormone analog methoprene causes both cytologic and biochemical alterations in larval and adult stages of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus. This insect growth regulator, used for mosquito control, caused (at a concentration of 10 µM) profound ultrastructural changes in the cuticular epithelial cells of postmolt adult blue crabs studied in vitro; these changes included loss of secretory organelles as well as distention and blebbing of the outer membrane of the nuclear envelope. Biochemically, 10 µM methoprene caused decreased deposition of extracellular cuticular chitin and protein, as well as a remarkable intracellular accumulation of chitoprotein precursors. These findings suggest that methoprene alters exocytosis and deposition of cuticular components. In vivo studies indicated that 5-10 µM methoprene is able to penetrate the embryonic investment coat to localize in lipovitellin. Exposure to methoprene at environmental concentrations (2-10 µM) produced morbidity and mortality in the form of an overall reduction in the number of successful hatching and lethargic behavior exhibited by the surviving zoeae. Methoprene exposure (3.3 µM) was also toxic to megalopae, delaying the molt to the first crab form and resulting in death of 80% of larvae after 10 days.

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