Among the eight currently recognized genera and approximately 40 species belonging to the brachyuran crab family Grapsidae, the complete larval development has only been known for three species of Metopograpsus. In the present study, we investigated the larval development of Geograpsus lividus originating from Jamaica and reared under controlled conditions in the laboratory. It consists of 8 zoeal stages and the megalopa, representing the longest recorded developmental pathway for any brachyuran. Although longer developments with more than 10 zoeal stages had been suggested for some species, based on specimens collected from the plankton, these were never confirmed by laboratory culture. In the present communication, the morphological and meristic characters of the larval stages of G. lividus are described and illustrated. The larvae share most characters established for the family Grapsidae. The two last zoeal stages, however, show some new features, which do not correspond with the typical setation pattern known from grapsid species with only 5 zoeal stages. These were found in the number of natatory setae on the exopods of the maxillipeds, and in the setation of the basis of the first maxilliped. Other characters, which had previously only been described for zoeae of Pachygrapsus and Planes, were observed also in G. lividus and could be common features for the Grapsidae. Moreover, the larvae of G. lividus present a spinulation on the lateral and rostral spines of the cephalotorax. This character is recorded for the first time in grapsid crabs. A comparison of these observations is made with those based on late zoeal stages of species belonging to closely related families, where similar characters have been documented.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > CO2-Coastal diversity - key species and food webs