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Life histories of large and small murexes (Prosobranchia: Muricidae)


One can predict the major features of a muricid's life history from its adult size. Most adults do not grow, and juveniles of all species grow 1 to 2 mm/month, so that larger adults have had fonger juvenile periods. Larger females deposit larger egg capsules and, since each of these contains more eggs, their clutches are larger. Small females deposit several clutches each year, and thus have relatively large annual fecundities. However, large females live longer, so each spawns many more eggs in her life-time than would a smaller female. From 90 to 99% of the juveniles die within their first year. However hatchings of small species are much more likely to complete their first year; a newly hatched Urosalpinx cinerea is 25 times more likely to survive long enough to breed once than a newly hatched Ceratostoma foliatum (Gmelin, 1791).

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Communicated by J. Bunt, Miami

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Spight, T.M., Birkeland, C. & Lyons, A. Life histories of large and small murexes (Prosobranchia: Muricidae). Mar. Biol. 24, 229–242 (1974).

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  • Life History
  • Small Species
  • Large Female
  • Adult Size
  • Juvenile Period