Journal of Ethology

, 28:87 | Cite as

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

  • M. AlmerãoEmail author
  • G. Bond-Buckup
  • M. de S. MendonçaJr


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.


Crustacea Anomura Aeglids Aegla platensis Mating behavior 



We would like to thank Dr. Luiz Ernesto Costa Schmidt, who critically discussed essential topics, as well as Dr. José Felipe Amato for his help with photographs.


  1. Altman J (1974) Observational study of behaviour: sampling methods. Behaviour 49:227–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ameyaw-Akumfi C (1981) Courtship in the crayfish Procambarus clarkii (Girard) (Decapoda, Astacidae). Crustaceana 40:57–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barki A, Karplus I (1999) Mating behavior and a behavioral assay for female receptivity in the red-claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus. J Crust Biol 19:493–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauer RT (1992) Repetitive copulation and variable success of insemination in the marine shrimp Sicyonia dorsalis (Decapoda:Penaeoidea). J Crust Biol 12:153–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauer RT (1996) A test of hypotheses on male mating systems and female molting in decapod shrimp, using Sicyonia dorsalis (Decapoda: Penaeoidea). J Crust Biol 16:429–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bauer RT (2000) Simultaneous hermaphroditism in caridean shrimps: a unique and puzzling mating system in the decapoda. J Crust Biol 20:116–128Google Scholar
  7. Bechler DL (1981) Copulatory and maternal-offspring behavior in the hypogean crayfish, Orconectes inermis inermis Cope and Orconectes pellucidus (Tellkampf) (Decapoda, Astacidea). Crustaceana 40:136–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Berg AV, Sandifer PA (1984) Mating behavior of the grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio Holthuis (Decapoda, Caridea). J Crust Biol 4:417–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bond-Buckup G (2003) Família Aeglidae. In: Melo GAS (ed) Manual de identificação dos Crustacea Decapoda de água doce do Brasil. Editora Loyola, São Paulo, pp 21–116Google Scholar
  10. Bond-Buckup G, Buckup L (1994) A Familia Aeglidae (Crustacea, Decapoda, Anomura). Arq Zool 32:159–346Google Scholar
  11. Bueno AAP, Bond-Buckup G (2000) Dinâmica populacional de Aegla platensis Schmitt (Crustacea, Decapoda, Aeglidae). Rev Bras Zool 17:43–49Google Scholar
  12. Bueno AAP, Bond-Buckup G (2004) Natural diet of Aegla platensis Schmitt and Aegla ligulata Bond-Buckup and Buckup (Crustacea, Decapoda, Aeglidae) from Brazil. Acta Limnol Bras 16:115–127Google Scholar
  13. Bueno AAP, Bond-Buckup G, Buckup L (2000) Crescimento de Aegla platensis Schmitt em ambiente natural (Crustacea, Decapoda, Aeglidae). Rev Bras Zool 17:51–60Google Scholar
  14. Christy JH (1987) Competitive mating, mate choice and mating associations of brachyuran crabs. Bull Mar Sci 41:177–191Google Scholar
  15. Correa CC, Baeza JA, Dupré E, Hinojosa IA, Thiel M (2000) Mating behavior and fertilization success of three ontogenetic stages of male rock shrimp Rhynchocinetes typus (Decapoda:Caridea). J Crust Biol 20:628–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Diaz H (1980) The mole crab Emerita talpoida (Say): a case of changing life history pattern. Ecol Monogr 50:437–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Diesel R (1991) Sperm competition and the evolution of the mating behavior in Brachyura with special reference to spider crabs (Decapoda, Majidae). In: Bauer RT, Martin JD (eds) Crustaceans mating biology. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 145–163Google Scholar
  18. Donaldson WE, Adams AE (1989) Ethogram of behavior with emphasis on mating for the tanner crab Chionoecetes bairdi Rathbun. J Crust Biol 9:37–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Efford IE (1967) Neoteny in sand crabs of the genus Emerita (Anomura:Hippidae). Crustaceana 13:81–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ferreira BDP, Hack C, Oliveira GT, Bond-Buckup G (2005) Perfil metabólico de Aegla platensis Schmitt (Crustacea, Aeglidae, Anomura) submetida a dietas ricas em carboidratos ou proteínas. Rev Bras Zool 22:161–168Google Scholar
  21. Gherardi F (2002) Behaviour. In: Holdich DM (ed) Biology of freshwater crayfish. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 258–281Google Scholar
  22. Goshima S, Ito K, Wadda S, Shimizu M, Nakao S (1995) Reproductive biology of the stone crab Hapalogaster dentata (Anomura:Lithodidae). Crust Res 24:8–18Google Scholar
  23. Hartnoll RG (1969) Mating in the Brachyura. Crustaceana 16:161–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hazlett BA (1981) The behavioral ecology of hermit crabs. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 12:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hazlett BA (1996a) Reproductive behavior of the hermit crab Clibanarius vittatus (Bosc, 1802). Bull Mar Sci 58:668–674Google Scholar
  26. Hazlett BA (1996b) Precopulatory behaviour of the hermit Crabs Diogenes avarus and Clibanarius virescens. Aust J Zool 44:487–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hess GS, Bauer RT (2002) Spermatophore transfer in the hermit crab Clibanarius vittatus (Crustacea, Anomura, Diogenidae). J Morphol 253:166–175CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Ingle RW, Thomas W (1974) Mating and spawning of the crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes (Crustacea:Astacidae). J Zool 173:525–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kawai T, Saito K (2001) Observations on the mating behavior and season, with no form alternation, of the Japanese crayfish, Cambaroides japonicus (Decapoda, Cambaridae), in lake Komadome, Japan. J Crust Biol 21:885–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lizardo-Daudt H, Bond-Buckup G (2003) Morphological aspects of the embryonic development of Aegla (Decapoda, Aeglidae). Crustaceana 76:13–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lopreto EC (1978) Estructura exosqueletaria y miologia del quinto par del pereiopodos del macho de la familia Aeglidae (Crustácea, Anomura). Limnobios 1:284–298Google Scholar
  32. Mason JC (1970) Copulatory behavior of the crayfish, Pacifastacus trowbridgii (Stimpson). Can J Zool 48:969–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Minouchi S, Goshima S (1998) Effect of male/female size ratio on mating behavior of the hermit crab Pagurus filholi (Anomura:Paguridae) under experimental conditions. J Crust Biol 18:710–716CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Molenock J (1975) Evolutionary aspects of communication in the courtship behavior of four species of anomuran crabs (Petrolisthes). Behaviour 53:1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Oliveira GT, Fernandes FA, Bueno AAP, Bond-Buckup G (2007) Seasonal variations in the intermediate metabolism of Aegla platensis (Crustacea, Aeglidae). Comp Biochem Physiol A 147:600–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Perez-Lousada M, Bond-Buckup G, Jara CG, Crandall KA (2004) Molecular systematics and biogeography of the southern South American freshwater “crabs” Aegla (Decapoda: Anomura: Aeglidae) using multiple heuristic tree search approaches. Syst Biol 53:767–780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pinheiro MAA, Fransozo A (1999) Reproductive behavior of the swimming crab Arenaeus cribrarius (Lamarck, 1818) (Crustacea, Brachyura, Portunidae) in captivity. Bull Mar Sci 64:243–253Google Scholar
  38. Pippitt MR (1977) Mating behavior of the crayfish Orconectes nais (Faxon, 1885) (Decapoda, Astacoidea). Crustaceana 32:265–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pohle G (1989) Gill and embryo grooming in lithodid crabs: comparative functional morphology based on Lithodes maja. In: Felgenhauer BE, Watling L, Thistle AB (eds) Crustacean issues, functional morphology of feeding and grooming in Crustacea. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 75–94Google Scholar
  40. Saint-Marie B, Lovrich GA (1994) Delivery and storage of sperm at first mating of female Chionoecetes opilio (Brachyura: Majidae) in relation to size and morphometric maturity of male parent. J Crust Biol 14:508–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Salmon M (1983) Courtship, mating systems, and mating selection in decapods. In: Rebach S, Dunham D (eds) The behavior of higher Crustacea. Wiley, New York, pp 143–169Google Scholar
  42. Sokolowicz CC, Bond-Buckup G, Buckup L (2006) Dynamics of gonadal development of Aegla platensis Schmitt (Decapoda, Anomura, Aeglidae). Rev Bras Zool 23:1153–1158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sokolowicz CC, López-Greco L, Gonçalves R, Bond-Buckup G (2007) The gonads of Aegla platensis Schmitt (Decapoda, Anomura, Aeglidae): a macroscopic and histological perspective. Acta Zool 88:71–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Subramoniam T (1977) Aspects of sexual biology of the anomuram crab Emerita asiatica. Mar Biol 43:369–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tudge CC, Lemaitre R (2004) Studies of male mating tubes in hermit crabs (Crustacea, Decapoda, Anomura, Paguroidea). I. Morphology of mating tube in Micropagurus acantholepis (Stimpson, 1858) with comments on function and evolution. J Morphol 259:106–118CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Turra A (2005) Reproductive behavior of intertidal hermit crabs (Decapoda, Anomura) in southeastern Brazil. Rev Bras Zool 22:313–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Veloso VG (1999) Família Porcellanidae. In: Buckup L, Bond-Buckup G (eds) Os crustáceos do Rio Grande do Sul. Ed. Universidade/UFRGS, Porto Alegre, pp 398–405Google Scholar
  48. Wada S, Ashidate M, Goshima S (1997) Observations on the reproductive behavior of the spiny king crab Paralithodes brevipes (Anomura:Lithodidae). Crust Res 26:56–61Google Scholar
  49. Wada S, Tanaka K, Goshima S (1999) Precopulatory mate guarding in hermit crab Pagurus middendorffii (Brandt) (Decapoda: Paguridae): effects of population parameters on male guarding duration. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 239:289–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Waddy SL, Aiken DE (1991) Mating and insemination in the American lobster, Homarus americanus. In: Bauer RT, Martin JD (eds) Crustacean’s sexual biology. Columbia University, New York, pp 126–144Google Scholar
  51. Wenner EL (1978) Notes on the distribution and biology of Galatheidae and Chirostylidae (Decapoda: Anomura) from the Middle Atlantic Bight. J Crust Biol 2:360–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Almerão
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • G. Bond-Buckup
    • 1
  • M. de S. MendonçaJr
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de EcologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de GenéticaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

Personalised recommendations