Author(s): Gimnez L, Anger K, Gimnez L, Anger K
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Abstract We studied interrelationships between initial egg size and biomass, duration of embryogenesis at different salinities, and initial larval biomass in an estuarine crab, Chasmagnathus granulata. Ovigerous females were maintained at three different salinities (15 per thousand, 20 per thousand and 32 per thousand); initial egg size (mean diameter), biomass (dry weight, carbon and nitrogen) as well as changes in egg size, embryonic development duration, and initial larval biomass were measured.Initial egg size varied significantly among broods from different females maintained under identical environmental conditions. Eggs from females maintained at 15 per thousand had on average higher biomass and larger diameter. We hypothesise that this is a plastic response to salinity, which may have an adaptive value, i.e. it may increase the survivorship during postembryonic development. The degree of change in egg diameter during the embryonic development depended on salinity: eggs in a late developmental stage were at 15 per thousand significantly larger and had smaller increment than those incubated at higher salinities. Development duration was longer at 15 per thousand, but this was significant only for the intermediate embryonic stages. Initial larval biomass depended on initial egg size and on biomass loss during embryogenesis. Larvae with high initial biomass originated either from those eggs that had, already from egg laying, a high initial biomass (reflecting individual variability under identical conditions), or from those developing at a high salinity (32 per thousand), where embryonic biomass losses were generally minimum. Our results show that both individual variability in the provisioning of eggs with yolk and the salinity prevailing during the embryonic development are important factors causing variability in the initial larval biomass of C. granulata, and thus, in early larval survival and growth.
This article was published in J Exp Mar Bio Ecol
and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity & Endangered Species