Metabolic Dormancy in Aquatic Invertebrates

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Abstract

One major approach used by invertebrates for coping with extreme environmental conditions is to enter states of metabolic and developmental dormancy. The possession of a latent or resting stage is a common occurrence in the life cycle of organisms inhabiting inconsistent or ephemeral environments, and this phenomenon has been a source of long-standing speculation and fascination (cf. van Leeuwenhoek 1702). Considering the remarkable habitat diversity that exists among aquatic invertebrates, it is not surprising that the distribution of dormancy is broadly scattered phylogenetically. Resting stages have now been reported in virtually every major phylum of invertebrates, with the notable exception of Echinodermata. In some taxa, mature adult forms have the ability to enter states of rest, while in others, specialized resting forms are common only during earlier stages of life cycles.