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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The early life history is described and compared in the estuarine callianassid shrimp species Lepidophthalmus sinuensis from the Caribbean coast of Colombia and L. louisianensis from the northern Gulf of Mexico, on the basis of laboratory larval cultures and wild plankton collections. Both species have an abbreviated larval development of 2 zoeal stages usually transcended within 3-4 days, with that of L. sinuensis being the shorter and exhibiting greater advancement in the zoeal stages. Development in both species is markedly shorter and morphologically more advanced than in comparable callianassid species for which stages have been described, including most of those known to have only 2 zoeal stages. Larval duration in Lepidophthalmus is nearest that of the ecologically comparable Callianassa s.l. kraussi from southern Africa and suggests possible convergence in early developmental strategies. On the basis of presently known larval histories, genera allied to Lepidophthalmus within the Callichirinae appear to either have long larval histories of 5 zoeal stages, or, if of 2 stages, to bear a morphological resemblance as zoeae to comparable stages in some of the non-Callichirinae. The decapodid (first postlarval) stage is imaginal in form and exhibits burrowing behavior, though appendage development is far short of adult form. Successive early postlarval development and behavior beyond this stage remains unknown. Detailed illustrations of zoeal and decapodid stages are provided to support comparative discussions and for use in larval identifications.

Affiliations: 1: (SFN) Department of Biology and Laboratory for Crustacean Research, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504, U.S.A.; 2: (DLF) Department of Biology and Laboratory for Crustacean Research, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504, U.S.A.; 3: (RL) Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, U.S.A. (e-mail:


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