, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 11-16

Reproductive behaviour and larval development of Tanais cavolinii (Crustacea: Tanaidacea)

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Abstract

Mature female stages of Tanais cavolinii Milne Edwards are described according to degree of oostegite development. Sexual dimorphism of the chelipeds of copulatory males is explained functionally. An aberrant marsupium consisting of two closed ovisacs with a small slit for sperm transfer protects the brood from sudden unpredictable changes in salinity. Behavioural traits, courtship, copulation, and parental care are described and compared to those of Heterotanais oerstedi Kröyer. The different habitats selected by the two species are reflected by several adaptations in their morphology and behaviour as tube dwellers. A phenomenon unique among invertebrates is that the female T. cavolinii supplies additional yolk to the larvae just before their release. The production and timing of this food supply is described and its adaptive significance is discussed.

Communicated by T. Fenchel, Aarhus