, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 87-94
Date: 11 Apr 2009

Mating behavior of Aegla platensis (Crustacea, Anomura, Aeglidae) under laboratory conditions

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Abstract

The mating behavior of several decapod crustaceans has been extensively studied; however, this aspect of anomuran biology is still poorly known in some groups. Aeglids are the only anomurans inhabiting freshwaters, and the mating behavior of the species in this family is unknown. We provide the first account of the mating behavior of an aeglid, Aegla platensis, under laboratory conditions. The precopulatory phase was characterized by male agonistic display, male approach, and courtship. Males exhibited the agonistic display toward immature and mature females, but only physiologically mature females allowed males to approach. Male approach led to display of courtship behaviors (body vibration, thrust, body lifting, and abdomen flapping). During the copulatory phase, males and females touched each other with the antennae (antennae touch), and males positioned themselves beneath the females (supine position). Although sperm transfer was not directly observed, a “white mass” was detected among oocytes in the female abdominal chamber shortly after some copulations. Finally, in the postcopulatory phase, males guard females during the process of egg attachment. Despite their morphological similarities with other anomurans, the mating behavior of aeglids seems to be unique, and the freshwater environment appears to have an important role in driving these differences.