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Free Content The Larval Stages of Some Australian Species of Halicarcinus (Crustacea, Brachyura, Hymenosomatidae). III. Dispersal

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I investigated how two small crab species with low fecundity, Halicarcinus ovatus and H. rostratus, achieve a relatively high rate of survival through their planktotrophic larval development.

Vertical plankton samples were collected at three stations in Cockburn Sound, south Western Australia, and at a station in the adjacent ocean at monthly intervals throughout a year. Crabs of these species are common in the shallow regions of Cockburn Sound and all three zoeal stages of these species occurred in the plankton samples, particularly at the two most inshore stations. The average ratios of third stage zoeae to first stage zoeae were 0.40 for H. ovatus form A and 0.59 for H. ovatus form C and H. rostratus, respectively, in the Cockburn Sound samples; compared to a ratio of 0.17 for zoeae of H. ovatus form A at the oceanic station. These ratios indicate very high rates of survival and retention of larvae in the Sound, which is due at least in part to restricted water exchange.

H. ovatus and H. rostratus are most abundant in semi-enclosed water masses. It is postulated that a major factor in their abundance at these localities is restricted dispersal of larvae away from the adult habitats, compensating for the low fecundity of the crabs with relatively high rates of survival through larval development and settlement.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1975

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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