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The First Zoea, Megalopa, and First Crab Stage of the Hydrothermal Vent Crab Xenograpsus Testudinatus (Decapoda: Brachyura: Grapsoidea) and the Systematic Implications for the Varunidae

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Abstract The first stage zoea and megalopa of the hydrothermal vent crab Xenograpsus testudinatus Ng, Huang, and Ho, 2000, are described, figured, and compared with a typical varunid, Brachynotus sexdentatus (Risso, 1827). Further comparisons are made between the first stage zoea of X. testudinatus and those representing the remaining current families of the Grapsoidea, namely Gecarcinidae, Glytograpsidae, Grapsidae, Plagusiidae, and Sesarmidae. A number of zoeal characters, including (1) the absence of the antennal exopod, (2) the setal formula [0,4] for the maxillular endopod, (3) the presence of a spine on both the distal coxal and proximal basal lobes of the maxilla, and (4) the presence of a minute spine on the lateral margin of the telson fork, appear to distinguish X. testudinatus first stage zoea from all the other grapsoids examined for this study. The zoeal evidence suggests that Xenograpsus is significantly different from known grapsoid larvae and the genus should eventually be removed from the Varunidae. Although Xenograpsus has similarities with known Scopimera (Ocypoidea) first stage zoea descriptions, including two of the above characters (1,2) and the setation of the maxillary endopod [2,3], these are not considered significant. A new family may need to be established to accommodate Xenograpsus within the Grapsoidea.

Affiliations: 1: (M-SJ, correspondence) Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, Republic of China (; (PFC) Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, England (; (PKLN) Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge, Singapore 119260 (


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