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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The discovery of a new stage in the life cycle of the Tantulocarida is reported. A sexual female, collected from a deep-sea harpacticoid copepod host, was removed from the trunk sac of the preceding tantulus larva. This female is a free-living and nonfeeding stage which presumably mates with the free-swimming adult male previously described. The female comprises a cephalothorax, probably incorporating 2 limbless thoracic somites, 2 free pedigerous trunk somites, and 3 limbless trunk somites. It also possesses paired antennules, the only well-defined cephalic appendages present at any stage in tantulocaridan life history. There is a median genital aperture, the copulatory pore, located ventrally on the cephalothorax at about the level of the incorporated first thoracic somite. This is interpreted as further evidence of a sister-group relationship between the Tantulocarida and the Thecostraca. The known life-cycle stages of the Tantulocarida are now interpreted as forming two cycles, one sexual, the other parthenogenetic.

Affiliations: 1: (RH) Zoology Department, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, England SW7 5BD, and N100-CEM0, Vierstraat 28, Yerseke NL-EA4401, The Netherlands;; 2: (GAB and RJL) The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, England SW7 5BD.


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