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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT In wild and cultured male Homarus americanus alternating current proved superior to direct current for electroejaculation of spermatophores. Spermatophore extrusion occurred when 10-12 mA were applied in the vicinity of the gonopore. This amperage can be obtained with 7-8 VAC, but use of an ammeter is recommended to prevent problems that can result from stimulation with excessive or inadequate current. Electrical resistance of lobster tissue stimulated in this way varied from 300-2,500 ohms, decreased with increasing voltage, and was independent of body size or electrode position. Spermatophores were largest and spermatozoa most numerous in freshly caught mature wild males, but both decreased with time in captivity. Males reared to maturity in isolation at constant 20°C were poor producers of spermatozoa. In this study 52% of such males had no sperm in their extruded spermatophores, a condition not encountered in recently captured wild males of similar size. Recently captured wild males ejaculated spermatophores bilaterally in 87% of trials, compared to only 20% in males reared individually at 20°C. In our system cultured males were poor producers of sperm unless they had been held for extended periods in communal conditions at ambient water temperatures. A technique was developed for implanting electroejaculated spermatophores in the empty seminal receptacles of hard-shell females. Of 93 hard-shell cultured females inseminated, 23 have spawned to date. Two of these have successfully fertilized, attached, and carried their eggs to hatching, thereby establishing the technical feasibility of intermolt insemination.

Affiliations: 1: Fisheries and Environmental Sciences, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Biological Station, St. Andrews, New Brunswick EOG 2X0, Canada


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