Larval development of Apiomithrax violaceus (A. Milne Edwards, 1868) (Decapoda : Brachyura : Majoidea : Pisidae) reared in laboratory conditions, and a review of larval characters of Pisidae
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Apiomithrax violaceus (A. Milne Edwards, 1868 ) is a pisid majoid crab occurring in tropical and subtropical coastal waters of the eastern and western South Atlantic. Larval development consists of two zoeal stages and a megalopa. Beginning with the first zoea, the duration of each larval stage at 24degreesC was 3-8 (5+/-1), 3-5 (4+/-0.5) and 9-15 (11+/-2) days, the megalopa and first crab instar appearing 9-11 (10+/-1) and 20-27 (23+/-2) days after hatching, respectively. Larval characters agree with those proposed for the Majoidea, in having nine or more setae on the scaphognathite in the first zoea and well-developed pleopods in the second zoea. However, larvae of A . violaceus do not fit larval pisid features. Zoeal stages differ from most other Pisidae in having lateral spines, a long rostral spine extending beyond the antenna, two spines per telson fork and a dorsolateral process on the third abdominal somite. The megalopa differs in having a spine dorsally on the carapace and on the basial segment of the second pereiopod. Two characters that are potentially unique to Apiomithrax include a zoeal antenna with an exopod that is much longer than the protopod, and a rostral spine that is longer than the dorsal spine. These characters should facilitate the identification of this taxon and could also be useful for phylogenetic studies. A review of larvae of 28 species among 14 genera indicated that there is no apparent single larval character that differentiates the Pisidae, with more limited phylogenetic analyses suggesting that this is a paraphyletic group. Apiomithrax , Eurynolambrus , Pisoides , Rochinia and Scyra have the most divergent morphological characters within the family. The analysis and inclusion of additional taxa is likely to shed more light on the sister-group relationships of the Pisidae. However, based on the extent of morphological interspecific variability of known larvae it is likely that the group, as presently defined by adult morphology, is not monophyletic.