Endogenous control of timing of metamorphosis in megalopae of the shore crab Carcinus maenas

Zeng, C., Naylor, E., and Abello, P. (1997) Endogenous control of timing of metamorphosis in megalopae of the shore crab Carcinus maenas. Marine Biology, 128 (2). pp. 299-305.

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Batches of hundreds of freshly collected megalopae of the shore crab Carcinus maenas (L.) showed persistent circatidal rhythms of moulting to the juvenile crab stage when maintained in constant laboratory conditions. Peaks of moulting occurred around expected times of high tides, with few megalopae moulting at other times. In larvae collected offshore, the highest tidally-timed peak of metamorphosis occurred during the second to fifth expected times of high tide, and metamorphosis of 50% of each batch took about 22 h or longer. In contrast, in larvae collected at the water's edge, 70% metamorphosed during the first expected episode of high tide, within 6 to 8 h after collection. However, although inshore megalopae moulted before offshore ones, the tidal timing of moulting remained unaltered whether megalopae were collected at neaps or springs, from the water's edge or farther offshore, in the presence or absence of natural substratum, and under various light–dark and salinity regimes. Metamorphosis of C. maenas megalopae around the times of high tides may enhance settlement into the upper intertidal zone. Early juveniles of the crab apparently prefer that zone as they are most abundant there and, unlike adults, do not undertake up-and-down-shore migration with tides. The present finding demonstrates, for the first time, endogenous physiological timing of circatidal periodicity in the metamorphic moult of crab megalopae, suggesting that endogenous factors, as well as exogenous ones should be taken into account in considering the process of settlement by crab megalopae.

Item ID: 28586
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2013 00:02
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060806 Animal Physiological Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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