Reproductive aspects of two bythograeid crab species from hydrothermal vents in the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge

Hilário, Ana, Vilar, Sara, Cunha, Marina R. and Tyler, Paul (2009) Reproductive aspects of two bythograeid crab species from hydrothermal vents in the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 378, 153-160. (doi:10.3354/meps07858).


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Bythograea laubieri, B. vrijenhoeki and alvinellid polychaetes dominate the vent fauna
of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge. We studied gonadal development in females of both crabs. They have
ovary microstructures characteristic of brachyuran decapods. The ovaries are paired organs overlying
the hepatopancreas beneath the carapace. Oogonia proliferate from the germinal epithelium and
develop into previtellogenic oocytes that grow to 60 Mm before undergoing vitellogenesis. The
observed maximum sizes of mature oocytes were 209 Mm in B. laubieri and 138 Mm in B. vrijenhoeki.
No ovigerous females were found in the samples, which agrees with the segregation behaviour of
ovigerous females away from the direct influence of the active chimney in some related species. In
contrast to other species of bythograeid crabs, the oocyte size-frequency data suggest that B. laubieri
and B. vrijenhoeki lack synchrony in reproduction of the population as a whole. Synchrony and seasonality
in reproduction of B. thermydron have been linked to the formation of phytoplankton blooms
in surface waters. We suggest that the biogeography of bythograeid crabs is determined by contrasting
oceanographic regimes that influence the reproductive patterns observed in different species.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.3354/meps07858
ISSNs: 0171-8630 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Bythograeid crab, Gonad development, Hydrothermal vent, Pacific-Antarctic Ridge
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: 65948
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
12 March 2009Published
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:51

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