Reproductive ecology of a hippolytid shrimp, Lebbeus virentova (Caridea: Hippolytidae) at the Von Damm Vent Field, Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre
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- Nye, V. & Copley, J.T. Mar Biol (2014) 161: 2371. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2512-9
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Elucidation of life-history traits is essential to understand larval dispersal and population dynamics in marine benthic assemblages. This study is the first investigation of the life history of a recently described hippolytid shrimp from a deep-sea chemosynthetic environment, Lebbeus virentova Nye, Copley, Plouviez and Van Dover, 2013 at the Von Damm Vent Field (18°22N, 81°47W, ~2,300 m depth, Mid-Cayman Spreading Centre, Caribbean), using samples collected in February and June 2013. Lebbeus virentova is gonochoric and iteroparous. The sex ratio of L. virentova was significantly female biased (1:3) in February and June. The sampled population of L. virentova had a unimodal size–frequency distribution pattern in February and June, consistent with continuous recruitment and mortality. Continuous reproduction is indicated by a lack of synchrony in oocyte size–frequency distributions within both months, and asynchronous development of embryos among females, which may result in asynchronous larval release. A large embryo size in this species (2.65 ± 0.28 mm diameter) compared with other caridean shrimps suggests possible abbreviated larval development, as described in other species of the genus from non-chemosynthetic environments. Fecundity (26–94 embryos female−1) was lower and embryo size larger in L. virentova compared with alvinocaridids at chemosynthetic environments. This suggests that there are phylogenetic constraints on reproductive features of decapods at hydrothermal vents.