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Embryo development in golden king crab (Lithodes aequispinus)
  • Published Date:
    2016
Filetype[PDF - 4.30 MB]


Details:
  • Document Type:
  • Description:
    The golden king crab (Lithodes aequispinus) is a commercially important species in Alaska waters with an asynchronous reproductive cycle and lecithotrophic larvae. In this study, we qualitatively and quantitatively describe embryo development for this species. Six female multiparous golden king crab were captured from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and mated in the laboratory. Their embryos were photographed on average once every 9 days throughout embryogenesis. We describe 13 stages of embryo development on the basis of both visual observations and embryo morphometrics from 1241 measured embryos. Embryo development was similar to that of other cold-water crab species, with the exceptions that 1) golden king crab did not have a diapause and 2) that the average percentage of the area occupied by the yolk at hatching, at about 40%, was much higher than that of other species. Both of these differences likely are attributable to the fact that the larvae are lecithotrophic and, therefore, do not need to synchronize hatch time with planktonic food availability but do need energy reserves to develop to the first crab stage. This study increases our understanding of the reproductive biology of the golden king crab and provides a baseline for future studies of embryo development.

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