Preliminary Note on the Complete Larval Development of Callinectes sapidus Rathbun Under Laboratory Conditions

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  • Preliminary Note on the Complete Larval Development of Callinectes sapidus Rathbun UnderLaboratory ConditionsAuthor(s): John D. Costlow, Jr., George H. Rees and C. G. BookhoutSource: Limnology and Oceanography, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Apr., 1959), pp. 222-223Published by: American Society of Limnology and OceanographyStable URL: .Accessed: 17/06/2014 06:00

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    ISELIN, C. O.'D. 1939. Some physical factors which may influence the productivity of New England's coastal waters. J. Mar. Res., 2(1): 74-85.

    STOREY, M., AND E. W. GUDGER. 1936. Mor- tality of fishes due to cold at Sanibel Island, Florida, 1886-1936. Ecology, 17: 640-643.

    VERRILL, A. E. 1901. A remarkable instance of the death of fishes at Bermuda in 1901. Amer. J. Sci. Ser. 4, 12: 88-95.

    WALFORD, L. A. 1938. Effects of currents on the distribution and survival of eggs and

    larvae of haddock (Melanogrammus aegle- finus) on Georges Bank. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish., 49(29): 1-73.

    WIBORG, K. F. 1948. Investigations on cod larvae in the coastal waters of northern Nor- way. Fiskeridir. Skr. Havunders0k., 9(3): 1-26.

    JOHN B. COLTON, JR. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries

    Woods Hole, Mass.

    Preliminary Note on the Complete Larval Development of Callinectes Sapidus Rathbun under

    Laboratory Conditions,

    A series of workers starting with Brooks (1882) and including Paulmier (1903), Hay (1904), Binford (1911), Churchill (1942), and Sandoz and Hopkins (1944) have attempted to rear Callinectes sapidus Rathbun through all larval stages in the laboratory but to date have been unsuccessful in raising them beyond the third zoeal stage. The information available on the later stages of de- velopment has, therefore, been obtained from reconstructions based on planktonic material. Churchill (1942) described his paper as filling the one remaining gap in our knowledge of the life history of the blue crab. Inasmuch as Callinectes ornatus and other species of the Portunidae are geographically sympatric with C. sapidus in much of its range and their life histories are un- known, we believe it is possible that the larvae of these species could easily be mistaken for one another. Hopkins (1944) is of the opinion that Churchill's description of the late zoeal stages (3-5) is in error and that positive identification of these stages would have to await rearing in the laboratory. We also feel that the only safe method of avoiding confusion with other species and obtaining accurate information concerning the larval development of C. sapidus would be to rear them from eggs in the laboratory. This method also has the advantage of giving more accurate information on the time of molting, the duration and mortality of each zoeal stage, and the time required for complete development to the crab.

    Ovigerous Callinectes sapidus females were ob- tained from the Beaufort harbor, brought into the laboratory, and placed in battery jars containing running, filtered, sea water (23-27 p.p.t). The battery jars were tilted so that the overflow passed through a series of glass trays. When the eggs hatched the larvae were carried to the

    ' These studies were aided by a contract be- tween the National Science Foundation and Duke University, G 4400.

    glass trays from which they were removed and segregated into mass cultures. They were then further subdivided into plastic compartmented boxes with one zoea per compartment. The zoeae were maintained at 23?-26?C and fed Arte- mia nauplii and fertilized Arbacia eggs. Some boxes were maintained on an Eberbach shaker (120/min), and others were stationary. The megalops and crab stages were fed the same diet plus beef liver. The compartments containing zoeae were observed daily for exuviae, and at this time the water and food were changed.

    Hatching was observed, and the initial zoeae swam free of the egg mass without any inter- vening "prezoeal" stage. To confirm this some were removed immediately after hatching and examined under a microscope. They had dorsal and rostral spines, were positively phototrophic, and the maxillary hairs were not telescoped as has been described as characteristic of the "pre- zoea" by other workers. Near the end of the hatching period the female forcibly removed many of the remaining eggs with her pereiopods. These eggs were still surrounded by a membrane which enclosed the so-called "prezoea." None of these developed in the laboratory, although it is conceivable that they may in nature.

    Duration of the individual zoeal stages varied from 3 to 8 days. Churchill (1942) described five zoeal stages in the larval development of C. sapidus. In this study, however, some larvae passed through a sixth, seventh, and even eighth zoeal stage. Successful metamorphosis to the megalops was observed only after seven zoeal stages. One eighth stage zoea metamorphosed to the megalops but died after one day. The over- all time for zoeal development in the laboratory at 23?-26?C was 30 to 39 days.

    The megalops stage persisted from 6 to 11 days and molted directly into the first crab stage. Thus the overall time from hatching to the first crab stage was 37 to 44 days.

    The intermolt periods between the first 4 crab

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    stages were from 2 to 4 days. Mortality was highest during the first few days of zoeal develop- ment, at the time of the first molt, and at the molt from the last zoeal stage to the megalops. Survival in both the mass cultures and the segre- gated zoea was 1-8 per cent. Further studies are being made on the effects of salinity and tem- perature on the larval development.


    BINFORD, R. 1911. Notes on the life history of Callinectes sapidus. The Johns Hopkins Univ. Circ., (N. S.) 2: 14-16.

    BROO:KS, W. K. 1882. Handbook of inverte- brate zoology for laboratories and seaside work. Bradlee Whidden, Boston. 392 pp.

    CHURCHILL, E. R. 1942. The zoeal stages of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun. Ches. Biol. Lab., Publ. 49., 26 pp.

    HAY, W. P. 1904. The life history of the blue

    crab, Callinectes sapidus. Rept. U. S. Bur. Fish., Washington, 397-413.

    HOP:KINS, S. H. 1944. The external morphology of the third and fourth zoeal stages of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun. Biol. Bull., 87: 145-152.

    PATULMIER, F. C. 1903. The edible crab, a pre- liminary study of its life history and economic relations. N. Y. State Mus., 55 Ann. Rept., 129-138.

    SANDOZ, M., AND S. H. HOP:KINS. 1944. Zoeal larvae of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun. J. Wash. Acad. Sci., 34: 132-133.


    Duke University Marine Laboratory Beaufort, North Carolina

    A Modified Flotation Technique for Sorting Bottom Fauna Samples'

    The removal of organisms from benthic samples that contain a large quantity of organic debris is well known as a tedious and time-con- suming task. The difficulty is compounded when particularly small invertebrates are numerous. A flotation procedure utilizing a sugar solution has proved efficient for sorting benthic samples collected from a variety of substrates.

    One of the first investigators to propose the use of a high-density solution for separating in- vertebrates from debris in samples was Ladell (1936). He utilized a solution of magnesium sulfate to remove insects and other arthropods from soil samples. This technique was adopted by Beak (1938) who devised an apparatus for sorting bottom fauna from samples collected in streams. Lyman (1943) described a "salting- out" procedure in which he used a saturated solu- tion of sodium chloride. Caveness and Jensen (1955) used a sugar solution for the separation of nematodes and their eggs from soils and plant tissues. Birkett (1957) used carbon tetrachloride for sorting living molluscs and invertebrates from debris consisting largely of shell.

    The flotation principle has not been widely applied for sorting benthos samples except in situations where the substrate has been almost entirely inorganic. Moffett (1943) found the process practical for removing invertebrates from samples collected from a sandy, wave-swept

    1 Contribution from the Michigan Institute for Fisheries Research. The assistance in the prep- aration of the manuscript by various members of the Institute staff including Dr. F. F. Hooper and Dr. P. H. Eschmeyer, and also Dr. K. F. Lagler of the Department of Fisheries, University of Michigan, is gratefully acknowledged.

    shoal. Hunt (1953), in a study of the mayfly, Hexage


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