Diele, Karen and Simith, Darlan J.B. (2007) Effects of substrata and conspecific odour on the metamorphosis of mangrove crab megalopae, Ucides cordatus (Ocypodidae). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 348 (1-2). pp. 174-182. DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2007.04.008.

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Environmental cues associated with the adult habitat induce metamorphosis in many marine invertebrate larvae and thus settlement in a place appropriate for completing their life cycle. Ucides cordatus is a semi-terrestrial crab that exemplifies organisms living in mangrove estuaries as adults, but whose larvae develop offshore and return to the estuarine environment prior to metamorphosis. We investigated the influence of substrata (burrow mud, channel-bank mud, dead wood, sand, nylon mesh) and conspecific adult cues (crab-conditioned seawater) on metamorphosis and the duration of the megalopal phase. Our results suggest that U. cordatus megalopae settle in areas populated by conspecific crabs and/or muddy habitats. High moulting rates were observed in the treatments with mud and/or adult odour (67–91%), whereas in the other substrata treatments and in the seawater control less than 20% and 5% of the megalopae metamorphosed, respectively. Megalopae are also capable of delaying metamorphosis. Over channel-bank mud they moulted 8 days later at an average, compared to the treatment with crab-conditioned seawater. Such a delay could result in a reduced juvenile fitness. In seawater control almost all megalopae died prior to metamorphosis, without moulting spontaneously as observed in other species. This reflects the crucial importance of habitat cues for the settlement and recruitment of this ecologically and economically important species. We outline the necessity of future research concerning post-metamorphic carry-over effects, the possible role of biofilms in absorbing and/or producing settlement cues, as well as the question whether the megalopae react specifically to the odour of U. cordatus, or also to the one of other crab other species. The latter is of particular interest against the background of the spreading lethargic crab disease that results in massive mortalities of U. cordatus, but not of co-occurring-species.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2007.04.008
ISSN: 00220981
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 11:59
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:00
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/3464

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