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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The reproductive sequence of Caprella laeviuscula Mayer consisted of pair formation, female molting, copulation, pair disengagement, and egg laying. The male held the female with the fifth pereiopods during precopula and removed the exoskeleton of the female prior to copulation. The number of eggs carried by the female was a function of female size, and the number of juveniles carried was significantly lower than the number of eggs carried by similarly sized females. Some of the eggs may have functioned as nurse eggs. Cephalon length was determined to be the best character for analysis of sexual dimorphism in this species. Among sexually mature specimens, males had more rapid differential growth of pereionites 1 and 2, while female pereionites 3-7 grew more rapidly. In addition to exhibited growth rates, sexual dimorphism was evident in the brood pouch of females, and in the point of insertion of gnathopod 2. The differences could not be related to male-female reproduction, and sexual dimorphism of males probably is a response to the male-male aggressive interactions during precopulation.


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