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Free Content The Complete Larval Development of the West Indian Hermit Crab Petrochirus Diogenes (L.) (Decapoda, Diogenidae) Reared in the Laboratory

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The complete zoeal development and the early post-larval development was followed in the laboratory. Description and illustrations of five zoeal stages and the glaucothoë are presented. There may be five or six zoeal stages in the larval development of P. diogenes, the number depending in part upon temperature. The zoeal stages and glaucothoë were compared in detail with those known of other species of diogenid and coenobitid hermit crabs and the systematic significance of a number of morphological features was evaluated. Ridges and grooves on the zoeal carapace of Petrochirus have not been reported for any other hermit larvae and may be unique to the genus, but other zoeal features considered to be “generic” in significance are shared with Dardanus. The glaucothoë described in a previous paper by this author and attributed to Petrochirus is shown to have been erroneously identified.

Starved stage-I larvae were not able to survive to molt at any of five temperatures used, but survival was longer at 20° C than at lower or higher temperatures. At 10° C, and 15° C, larvae provided with Artemia nauplii as food were also unable to molt, and died in approximately the same time as starved siblings. At 20° C, 25° C, and 30° C, fed larvae were able to molt and to continue growth. Viable glaucothoës were not obtained at 20° C, but a few specimens reaching the terminal molt died in the process of becoming glaucothoës. At 25° C, glaucothoës were obtained after five and six zoeal stages. At 30° C, nearly all specimens reaching glaucothoë did so after only five zoeal stages.

At all temperatures, the first zoeal stage had a longer mean duration than did the stages immediately following, but duration increased again in the last zoeal stages and reached a maximum in the glaucothoë, becoming less again at the crab stages. Explanations for these differences are offered.

Total duration of the zoeal phase of development was approximately 50 days at 20° C and approximately 25 days at the higher temperatures used. Since the glaucothoë also is planktonic for much of its existence, the total potential planktonic life of this species may vary from 31-43 days at 30°, 37-50 days at 25°, and 72-84 days at 20° C.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1968-03-01

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