Larval and early juvenile development of Paralomis granulosa reared at different temperatures: tolerance of cold and food limitation in a lithodid crab from high latitudes

Anger, K., Thatje, S., Lovrich, G.A. and Calcagno, J.A. (2003) Larval and early juvenile development of Paralomis granulosa reared at different temperatures: tolerance of cold and food limitation in a lithodid crab from high latitudes. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 253, 243-251. (doi:10.3354/meps253243).


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Paralomis granulosa Jacquinot is a commercially fished lithodid crab species living in subantarctic and cold-temperate regions of southern South America. Its larval stages (Zoea I, II, Megalopa) are fully lecithotrophic, developing in the complete absence of food from hatching through metamorphosis; first feeding occurs in the first juvenile crab stage. In laboratory rearing experiments conducted at constant 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15°C, we studied rates of larval and early juvenile survival and development in relation to temperature. At 1°C, many larvae (52%) reached the Megalopa stage almost 2 mo after hatching, but all died subsequently without passing through metamorphosis. Larval development was successfully completed at all other temperatures, with maximum survival at 6 to 9°C. The time of non-feeding larval development from hatching to metamorphosis lasted, on average, from 24 d (at 15°C) to almost 4 mo (117 d, at 3°C). When the experiment was terminated 1 yr after hatching, the 3rd (3°C) to 8th (15°C) juvenile crab instar had been reached. The relationship between the time of development through individual larval or juvenile stages (y) and temperature (T) was described as a power function (y = a x Tb, or log[y] = log[a] + b • log[T]; the same regression model was also used to describe the temperature-dependence of cumulative periods of development from hatching. The wide thermal tolerance window for successful larval development (at least 3 to 15°C) and the broad geographic range of this species show that the early life-cycle stages of P. granulosa are cold-eurythermal. This physiological trait together with larval independence of food indicate that this lithodid crab species is well adapted to severe conditions of cold in combination with the food-limitation in subantarctic regions. Since similar traits have been also observed in other Lithodidae, we suggest that early life-history adaptations to low temperatures and low planktonic productivity may explain the high number of lithodid species occurring at high latitudes and in the deep sea, i.e. in conditions under which other Decapoda show strongly reduced diversity.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.3354/meps253243
Related URLs:
Keywords: Lithodidae • Paralomis granulosa • Temperature • Larval development • Juvenile growth • Cold tolerance
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 39036
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
15 May 2003Published
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:08

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