Managing the offspring environment: brood care in the bromeliad crab, Metopaulias depressus

Summary

Maternal modification of the larval environment was studied in the bromeliad crab, Metopaulias depressus (Decapoda, Grapsidae). The bromeliad crab breeds in rain water stored in the leaf axils of large Jamaican bromeliads. The physico-chemical water conditions are highly unfavorable for the development of the larvae. Water in nursery axils contained no leaf litter and up to 14 empty snail shells, whereas other axils were partly or completely covered with leaf litter and rarely held snail shells. Mother crabs removed leaf litter from nursery axils, and occasionally from neighboring axils. Nursery axils contained twice as much dissolved oxygen (DO2) at night when DO2 is at a minimum, and less dissolved carbon dioxide (DCO2) than axils unattended by a crab. The higher DO2 content in nurseries meets the respiratory needs of an average sized brood, but the lower concentration in axils with litter may not. It is suggested that the higher DO2 and lower DCO2 concentrations in the nursery axils result from a water circulation produced by the mother and her leaf litter cleaning behavior. The low pH and the Ca2+ content in the water of unattended bromeliad axils are unfavorable for development of larvae and young. Mother crabs significantly increased pH and Ca2+ by adding empty snail shells to the nursery-axil water. In experiments where the brood was transferred to other axils, mothers switched from the nursery axil to the new axil containing the brood, and there continued caring for their offspring.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Abele LG (1972) A note on the Brazilian bromeliad crabs (Crustacea, Grapsidae). Arq Cienc Mar 12:123–126

    Google Scholar 

  2. Abele LG, Mans DB (1977) Sesarma jarvisi and Sesarma cookei: Montane, terrestrial grapsid crabs in Jamaica (Decapoda). Crustaceana 32:93–99

    Google Scholar 

  3. Anger K, Harms J, Montu M, de Bakker C (1990) Effects of salinity on the larval development of a semiterrestrial tropical crab, Sesarma angustipes (Decapoda: Grapsidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 62:89–94

    Google Scholar 

  4. Atkinson RJA, Taylor AC (1988) Physiological ecology of burrowing decapods. In: Fincham AA, Rainbow PS (eds) Aspects of decapod crustacean biology. Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp 201–226

    Google Scholar 

  5. Baylis JR (1981) The evolution of parental care in fishes, with reference to Darwin's rule of male sexual selection. Env Biol Fish 6:223–251

    Google Scholar 

  6. Beadle LC, Beadle SF (1949) Carbon dioxide narcosis. Nature 164:235

    Google Scholar 

  7. Belman BW, Childress JJ (1973) Oxygen consumption of the larvae of the lobster Panulirus interruptus (Randall) and the crab Cancer productus Randall. Comp Biochem Physiol 44A: 821–828

    Google Scholar 

  8. Bowman RE, Abele LG (1982) Classification of the recent Crustacea. In: Abele LG (ed) The biology of Crustacea, vol 1. Academic Press, New York, pp 43–63

    Google Scholar 

  9. Cameron JN, Mangum CP (1983) Environmental adaptations of the respiratory system: ventilation, circulation, and oxygen transport. In: Vernberg FJ, Vernberg WB (eds) The biology of crustacea, Bd 8. Academic Press, New York, pp 43–63

    Google Scholar 

  10. Chace FA, Hobbs HH (1969) The freshwater and terrestrial decapod crustaceans of the West-Indies with special reference to Dominica. Bull US Natl Mus 292:1–258

    Google Scholar 

  11. De Marco VG, Morris T, Wheatly MG (1990) Metabolism and available oxygen for cave-dwelling crayfish. Am Zool 30: 110A

  12. De Silva PK, De Silva KHGM (1988) Temperature, salinity, and pH tolerance, and the influence of other ecological factors in the geographic isolation of a freshwater atyid shrimp (Decapoda, Caridea) in Sri Lanka. Arch Hydrobiol 111:435–448

    Google Scholar 

  13. Diesel R (1989) Parental care in an unusual environment: Metopau-lias depressus (Decapoda: Grapsidae), a crab that lives in epiphytic bromeliads. Anim Behav 38:561–575

    Google Scholar 

  14. Diesel R (1992) Maternal care in the bromeliad crab, Metopaulias depressus (Decapoda: Grapsidae): Protection of young from predation by damselfly nymphs. Anim Behav (in press)

  15. Emmerson WD (1990) The effect of temperature and season on the aerial oxygen-consumption of Uca urvillei (H Milne Edwards) Decapoda: Ocypodidae. J Therm Biol 15:41–46

    Google Scholar 

  16. Hart JCW (1964) A contribution to the limnology of Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Car J Sci 4:331–334

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hartnoll RG (1964a) The freshwater grapsid crabs of Jamaica. Proc Zool Soc Lond 175:145–169

    Google Scholar 

  18. Hartnoll RG (1964b) Two cavernicolous decapods from Jamaica. Crustaceana 7:78–79

    Google Scholar 

  19. Hartnoll RG (1971) Sesarma cookei n. sp., a grapsid crab from Jamaica (Decapoda: Brachyura). Crustaceana 20:257–262

    Google Scholar 

  20. Hartnoll RG (1988) Evolution, systematics, and geographical distribution. In: Burggren WW, McMahon BR (eds) Biology of the land crabs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge New York, pp 6–54

    Google Scholar 

  21. Havas M, Hutchinson TC (1983) Effect of low pH on the chemical composition of aquatic invertebrates from tundra ponds at the Smoking Hills, NWT, Canada. Can J Zool 61:241–249

    Google Scholar 

  22. Hazlett BA (1983) Parental behavior in decapod Crustacea. In: Rebach S, Dunham DW (eds) Studies in adaptation, the behavior of higher crustacea. Wiley, New York, pp 171–193

    Google Scholar 

  23. Heerdt PV van, Krijgsman BJ (1939) Die Regulierung der Atmung bei Eriocheir sinensis Milne-Edwards. Z Vgl Physiol 27:27–40

    Google Scholar 

  24. Herreid CF (1980) Hypoxia in invertebrates. Comp Biochem Physiol 67A: 311–320

    Google Scholar 

  25. Krogh A (1938) The active absorption of ions in some freshwater animals. Z Vgl Physiol 25:335–350

    Google Scholar 

  26. Laessle AM (1961) Micro-limnological study of Jamaican bromeliads. Ecology 42:499–517

    Google Scholar 

  27. Malley DF (1980) Decreased survival and calcium uptake by the crayfish Orconectes viridis in low pH. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 37:364–372

    Google Scholar 

  28. McDiarmid RW (1978) Evolution of parental care in frogs. In: Burghardt GM, Bekoff M (eds) The development of behavior. Comparative and evolutionary aspects. Garland Publ, New York, pp 127–147

    Google Scholar 

  29. McGinley MA, Temme DH, Geber MA (1987) Parental investment in offspring in variable environments: theoretical and empirical considerations. Am Nat 130:370–398

    Google Scholar 

  30. McMahon BR, Burggren WW (1988) Respiration. In: Burggren WW, McMahon BR (eds) Biology of the land crabs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge New York, pp 249–297

    Google Scholar 

  31. McWilliams EL (1969) Crabs belonging to the genus Sesarma found living in four species of bromeliads. Bromeliad Soc Bull, Los Angeles 19:80–82

    Google Scholar 

  32. Morris S, Taylor AC (1983) Diurnal and seasonal variations in physico-chemical conditions within intertidal rock pools. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sci 17:339–355

    Google Scholar 

  33. Rabalais NN, Gore RH (1985) Abbreviated development in decapods. In: Wenner AM (ed) Crustacean issues 2. Larval growth. AA Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 65–126

    Google Scholar 

  34. Rathbun MJ (1918) The grapsoid crabs of america. Bull US Natl Mus 97:1–445

    Google Scholar 

  35. Salthe SN, Mecham JS (1974) Reproductive and courtship patterns. In: Lofts B (ed) Physiology of the amphibia. Academic Press, New York, pp 309–521

    Google Scholar 

  36. Sattler C, Sattler W (1965) Decapode Krebse als Bewohner von Bromelien — “Zisternen”. Natl Mus 95:411–415

    Google Scholar 

  37. Schwoerbel J (1986) Methoden der Hydrobiologie, Süßwasserbio-logie. Fischer, Stuttgart New York

    Google Scholar 

  38. Shine R (1978) Propagule size and parental care: The ‘safe harbor’ hypothesis. J Theor Biol 75:417–424

    Google Scholar 

  39. Taylor AC (1988) The ecophyiology of decapods in the rock pool environment. In: Fincham AA, Rainbow PS (eds) Aspects of decapod crustacean biology. Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp 227–261

    Google Scholar 

  40. Taylor AC, Spicer JI (1989) Interspecific comparison of the respiratory response to declining oxygen tension and the oxygen transporting properties of the blood of some palaemonid prawns (Crustacea: Palaemonidae). Mar Behav Physiol 14:81–91

    Google Scholar 

  41. Thompson RK, Pritchard AW (1969) Respiratory adaptations of two burrowing crustaceans, Callianassa californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis (Decapoda: Thalassinidae). Biol Bull 136:274–287

    Google Scholar 

  42. Thorson G (1950) Reproductive and larval ecology of marine bottom invertebrates. Biol Rev 25:1–45

    Google Scholar 

  43. Townsend DS, Stewart MM, Pough H (1984) Male parental care and its adaptive significance in a neotropical frog. Anim Behav 32:421–431

    Google Scholar 

  44. Wilson EO (1971) The insect societies. University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts Harvard

    Google Scholar 

  45. Winget RR (1969) Oxygen consumption and respiratory energetics in the spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus (Randall). Biol Bull 136:301–312

    Google Scholar 

  46. Wolvekamp HP, Waterman TH (1960) Respiration. In: Waterman TH (ed) The physiology of crustacea, vol 1. Academic Press, New York, pp 35–100

    Google Scholar 

  47. Wootton RJ (1979) Energy costs of egg production and environmental determinants of fecundity in teleost fishes. Symp Zool Soc Lond 44:133–159

    Google Scholar 

  48. Wyatt TD (1986) How a subsocial intertidal beetle, Bledius spectabilis prevents flooding and anoxia in its burrow. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 19:323–331

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Diesel, R. Managing the offspring environment: brood care in the bromeliad crab, Metopaulias depressus . Behav Ecol Sociobiol 30, 125–134 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00173948

Download citation

Keywords

  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Leaf Litter
  • Water Circulation
  • Rain Water
  • Bromeliad