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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 183:217-225 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps183217

Settlement cues in an Atlantic coast population of the ghost shrimp Callichirus major (Crustacea: Decapoda: Thalassinidea)

K. M. Strasser*, D. L. Felder

Department of Biology, University of Southwestern Louisiana, PO Box 42451, Lafayette, Louisiana 70504-2451, USA
*Present address: Dept. Biology, University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida 33606-1490, USA. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Larvae of Callichirus major (Say) were first given stimuli upon reaching the last zoeal stage (ZIV), decapodid stage (D), or first juvenile stage (J1). Animals were provided with sand and unconditioned water, water conditioned by previous exposure to adults (adult-conditioned water = AW), or both stimuli to determine if these factors could serve as settlement cues. ZIV was found to be important in the settlement process. Animals that received sand and AW at ZIV burrowed more than those that received stimuli at D. Whereas larvae of the Atlantic population delayed molting to D in the absence of stimuli, they did so differently than previously found in a Gulf of Mexico population. In the Gulf population, duration of ZIV decreased in the presence of AW. In contrast, duration of ZIV in the Atlantic population increased significantly in the presence of stimuli at this stage, which led larvae to molt directly from ZIV to D. The percentage of animals molting directly from ZIV to D (bypassing the fifth zoeal stage) was significantly higher in animals that received stimuli at ZIV than it was in animals that did not receive stimuli at this stage. When each stimulus was offered alone results were not equivalent to those when stimuli were offered in combination. The Atlantic population required presence of both stimuli at ZIV for settlement, while exposure of ZIV larvae to sand alone was sufficient to induce settlement of postlarvae in the Gulf population.

KEY WORDS: Settlement cues · Sediment · Stimuli · Adult-conditioned water · Zoea

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