Responses of pelagic larvae of two species of xanthid crabs to manipulations of hydrostatic pressure were examined and compared. One species, Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Gould), is a temperate estuarine species, while the other, Leptodius floridanus (Gibbes), inhabits shallow water and reefs in tropical and subtropical regions. All zoeal stages of R. harrisii detected pressure stimuli presented in increments as small as 0.025 atm. Both Stage I and II zoeae of L. floridanus responded to pressure stimuli presented in increments of 0.1 atm. Stage I responded when pressure was changed by the smallest increment tested, 0.025 atm, but Stage II did not. L. floridanus zoeal Stages III and IV, however, did not change vertical position relative to control larvae when subjected to pressure stimuli. The capacity of R. harrisii zoeae to respond to changes in hydrostatic pressure may be related to their retention in the estuarine environment. In L. floridanus, a non-estuarine species, the pressure response is important only in the first zoeal stage and may function promarily in dispersal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science